Weeks after they were granted bail by the court, the contractors that handled the construction of the collapsed Synagogue, Church of All Nations (SCOAN) building, Akinbola Fatiregun and Oladele Ogundeji, were on Monday 20 June, 2016 released from the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons after meeting all their bail conditions.
The two engineers had been remanded in prison pending trial for alleged manslaughter and criminal negligence, charges levelled against them by the Lagos State Government. Following the ruling of the judge that they be remanded in prison custody, their bail application was filed and subsequently granted, although meeting its conditions took a while due to their stringent nature. Having been released, the engineers are expected to be in court for the continuation of their trial.
Meanwhile, at the resumed trial last week, counsel to defendants cross-examined the witness representing the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NIBRRI) and the Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), Engineer Victor Oyenuga.
Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) pointed out to the witness the fact that there is no proof of any correspondence between NIBRRI and COREN regarding the report of the committee said to have been set up by COREN which suggested structural faults were responsible for the tragic incident.
The implication of the foregoing is that the report could have been the mischievous creation of some people with a sinister motive to rubbish the reputation of the engineers who constructed the building. Olalekan Ojo also made it clear to the court that the Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers is not a creation of law and therefore is inconsequential in determining those qualified to practice Structural Engineering as a profession.
This was in response to Oyenuga’s insistence that the two engineers that handled the construction of the guesthouse were not members of this organisation, attempting to lend credence to his assertion they were incompetent.
The witness agreed with the declaration of Mr Ojo but insisted that the Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineering remains an affiliate of COREN.