Nigerian preacher TB Joshua is responsible for the deaths of (116) one hundred and sixteen worshippers (two of them Zimbabweans) at his church hostel, the coroner investigating the causes of death in the collapse of the building last September has ruled.
The coroner, Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, passed his verdict today Wednesday July 8, 2013 which is set to lead to charges being laid on TB Joshua after it was found that the preacher cut corners to erect the dangerous building.
“The church was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims,” coroner Oyetade Komolafe said at the inquest in Lagos.
TB Joshua built his hostel without any permit, the magistrate ruled. The collapsed building had was subsequently also under construction for years without the government taking proactive measures to monitor its progress until the day of the collapse.
Komolafe indicted TB Joshua and his SCOAN church for not obtaining the necessary building permit before constructing the building. Among all individuals and organisations summoned, only TB Joshua refused to testify.
Speaking further, the magistrate also recommended that the government should adequately equip responders whenever there was an emergency situation to enable them to carry out their duties efficiently.
The recommendation comes in lieu of the uncoordinated and inefficient manner in which some of the statutory responders from the state performed their duties during rescue operations at the site of the collapsed building.
It was even reported then that some of the rescue equipment brought to the site of the collapse by some statutory responders from the state broke down during rescue operations and the church itself made arrangements for equipment to be brought in.
Thanking the media for their forthrightness, the coroner also recommended that the government should take over the site of any collapsed building in future. Nosa Osazuwa, a writer from Lagos, Nigeria, was present during the reading of the verdict.