TB Joshua en­gi­neer says foun­da­tion solid

Sunday Express - - WORLD - La­gos

AN en­gi­neer for a Nige­rian church where 116 peo­ple were killed in a build­ing col­lapse has ruled out weak foun­da­tions as the cause of the tragedy.

Most of the vic­tims were South Africans.Joseph Ibikunle Fo­layan, who was hired to test the soil at the Sy­n­a­gogue Church of All Na­tions’ sprawl­ing site in Nige­ria’s fi­nan­cial hub La­gos, said the foun­da­tions were strong.

“There is no ev­i­dence on [the] ground or in the­ory to sup­port the the­ory that the six-storey [build­ing] failed be­cause of weak foun­da­tions,” he told a coro­ner’s in­quest prob­ing the col­lapse.

“As far as the soil test is con­cerned, the ac­cept­able stan­dards were met. There­fore, this thing [the col­lapse] is not due to foun­da­tion fail­ure.”

Church leader TB Joshua, a self-pro­claimed mir­a­cle worker and tel­e­van­ge­list, has blamed sab­o­tage for the tragedy but the in­quest has been told that shoddy build­ing work may have been to blame.

The Coun­cil for the Reg­u­la­tion of En­gi­neer­ing in Nige­ria has told the hear­ing that the build- ing, which housed for­eign guests of the church, could not sup­port the ad­di­tion of ex­tra floors.

“The col­umns [pil­lars] and beams were not strong enough. The de­sign of the build­ing was not prop­erly done,” Oluse­gun Oyenuga, an en­gi­neer with the coun­cil, said in ev­i­dence on 12 March.

“In fact, the de­sign was not han­dled by a qual­i­fied struc­tural en­gi­neer,” he added.

The en­gi­neer who su­per­vised the con­struc­tion, how­ever, ruled out struc­tural de­fects in the Septem­ber 2014 col­lapse, which saw 81 South Africans lose their lives.

In his fi­nal re­port to the in­quest, La­gos state com­mis­sioner for phys­i­cal plan­ning, Olu­toyin Ayinde, told the court that the col­lapsed build­ing did not have gov­ern­ment ap­proval.

Plan­ning records did not in­clude the build­ing and the church had failed to sub­mit ar­chi­tec­tural de­signs and draw­ings for it, de­spite re­peated re­quests, he added.

The in­quest was ad­journed un­til 8 April and the coro­ner is ex­pected to give his rul­ing on the cause of the col­lapse in the com­ing weeks.

Joshua has failed to turn up to give ev­i­dence on four sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions at the in­quest and is ap­peal­ing a high court or­der that he tes­tify.

— AFP

TB Joshua (left) and Nige­rian Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan in­spect the col­lapsed build­ing last Septem­ber.

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