by Michael Abimboye
The five-storey building belonging to the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, which collapsed in September, killing 115 people, may have been destroyed by a strange aircraft which flew over it shortly before the incident, a police investigator told a coroner inquest Wednesday.
The collapse may also have been caused by sabotage, or structural failure, the investigator claimed.
Standing as witness, the head of homicide section at the state Criminal Investigation Department, CID, Panti, Olushola Agoyi, said the three factors, suggested by the founder of the church, T.B. Joshua, and the Lagos State government, were also what the police found as likely causes for the collapse.
“In my recommendations, three parameters might be responsible for the collapse. Internal sabotage, strange aircraft, structural and civil aspect of the building,” Mr. Agoyi said.
Mr. Agoyi said in the course of his investigation, he recorded statements from 34 persons including Nigerians, Togolese and South Africans.
“I recorded statement from 34 witnesses and I’m aware that the aircraft caused panic,” Mr. Agoyi said, acknowledging that his investigation remained open.
The founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations, Mr. Joshua, blames the building collapse on a strange aircraft and attack by extremist group Boko Haram, while the Lagos State government says the building was structurally defective.
The police investigator, Mr. Agoyi, said the way the building came down “was just like that of a controlled demolition and there were some smoke like dust that came out”.
Mr. Agoyi recommended that soil and particles which he described as “smoke-like dust” should be treated as exhibits and examined by foreign experts.
“If experts analyse all these, it could be as a result of controlled demolition and I recommended that these mentioned exhibits should be tested by foreign experts”.
According to the police investigation, an aircraft which flew over the building shortly before the collapse, belonged to the Nigerian Airforce and was on a circuit training mission.
The coroner inquest will continue it inquest tomorrow, November 20.