Synagogue-churchBy Oladapo Okeowo

The trial of the two engineers in charge of the collapsed guest house of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) has stalled due to witness absence.

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The accused engineers, Akinbela Fatiregun and Oladele Ogundeji, representing Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company and Jandy Trust Ltd., alongside the trustees of SCOAN, are facing a 111-count charge of gross negligence and criminal manslaughter.

They are standing trial before an Ikeja High Court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mrs Idowu Alakija, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), told the court that the Sixth Prosecution Witness (PW6) was out of the country.

She said: “PW6 was expected to come in for this matter from overseas, but we received a last minute phone call from him that he would not be able to make it to the country.

“I humbly request that the court gives us at least a week to enable our witness to be able to come to court,” she said.

The defence counsels -Chief Efe Akpofure (SAN), Mrs Titi Akinlawon (SAN) and Mr Olalekan Ojo- raised no objections and the presiding judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo adjourned the case till February 17.

About 116 persons died in the collapse of the seven-storey guest house, which occurred on Sept. 12, 2014. Eighty-five of them were South Africans.

Five prosecution witnesses have testified in the trial. They include Prof. John Obafunwa, the Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, and Mr Toyin Ayinde, a former Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development.