Aircraft Flew Over Synagogue Church Building Before Collapse – Witness

A witness in the ongoing trial of suspects in the collapse of Synagogue of All Nations Church, Ikotun-Egbe, Lagos, on Friday, collaborated the evidence of pastor of the church J. B. Joshua who has consistently said that an aircraft flew above the building before it collapsed in 2014.
The witness, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Alaba Haruna, told a Lagos High Court that indeed an aircraft flew over the building, just before it collapsed on September 12, 2014, killing 116 people.
He said one of his patrol teams observed an aircraft flying low over the church and other buildings in the premises.
J.B Joshua had said repeatedly that the building did not collapse because of any defect or alteration in the original plan but for the almost invisible plane that flew over it.
Haruna testified before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo of an Igbosere High Court on Lagos Island as a defence witness in the trial of the registered trustees of the church and four others.
Haruna, Area Commander of the Eastern Ports Command, Port Harcourt, Rivers, was the Divisional Police Officer at Ikotun-Egbe at the time the building collapsed.
He was led in evidence by the trustees counsel, Oluseye Diyan.
Haruna said: “On that fateful day on September12, 2014 at 12.30 p.m., there was a radio communication from the police control room at Ikeja that they were receiving calls from the public of an aircraft flying at low altitude over the church.
“I was directed by the Area Command to confirm the incident and monitor the aircraft’s activities.
“I wanted to go out and direct my men to watch out for the aircraft when I received another report of an airplane flying at a very low altitude. I went outside but I couldn’t see it, by that time it had gone.
“I received a call later from Insp. Lucky Ugbaja, stationed at the church that one of the church’s buildings had collapsed.”
According to him, the radio room had earlier radioed the Police Airport Command to confirm whether it was carrying out any activity in the church vicinity.
Haruna said when he arrived at the church’s premises there was a large crowd and the few police officers there were trying to manage the situation.
He said onlookers kept trooping in and the crowd spilled to the roads outside the church, causing serious gridlock.
“We were overwhelmed,” Haruna told the Judge, adding that he called for more police officers and were provided.
According to him, the floors of the collapsed building were lying one on the other, “the church members and others at the scene were engaged in rescue operations.
“Those I met there were church worshipers; they were bringing out so many people from under the rubble. Most of the victims were alive. Some were injured, some were not.
“Later the Red Cross, Life Savers, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) arrived and joined us in the rescue.”
He said the rescue mission lasted about seven days.
The church opened its defence in a one-count charge of building without approval brought against it by the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) following the dismissal of its no-case submission on March 8, 2016.
The other defendants are the two engineers who built the building: Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, and their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Ltd.
Apart from the trustees’ one-count charge, the other defendants are facing a 110-count bordering on involuntary manslaughter.
Following the prosecution’s application for an adjournment, Mr Lawal-Akapo adjourned further proceedings until June 28.

Author: News Editor

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