The contractor who handled the construction of the collapsed building, Engineer Akin Fatiregun of Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company Limited, told the coroner that all materials used in the construction of the collapsed building were of world-class standard.
While undergoing cross-examination by counsel to The SCOAN, Olalekan Ojo, Fatiregun submitted that the Project Committee of the church with whom he liaised during the construction of the building insisted on the use of the best available materials for the building.
According to the Engineer, contrary to speculations that the building was originally designed as a four-storey structure, the collapsed building was designed as a six-storey right from the onset and the foundation that was put in place was such that could carry up to a ten-storey building.
He stated further that the building had to be constructed in phases with the first phase seeing the completion of the fourth floor which had to be decked and roofed temporarily to protect it from environmental hazards pending when the church would be ready for the addition of the last two floors.
He informed the court that he worked directly under the supervision of an experienced Structural Engineer, M.O Ogundeji who gave approval for every level of the construction.
According to him, the building didn’t collapse due to structural failure but external factors which suggest a form of induced demolition. Furthermore, he declared to the court that based on his experience, the construction adhered to international standards and showed no sign of stress even after completion.
Engineer Fatiregun also told the court that though the building had not gotten final approval, he was aware the process was ongoing between the church and the appropriate body before the building collapsed.
He submitted that there was a strong suspicion of sabotage which was most likely to have been carried out through induced or controlled demolition because the foundation of the collapsed building remains intact without any sign of stress, crack or pressure. According to him, the whole scenario was baffling.
Meanwhile, the presiding magistrate, Chief Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has urged all witnesses to see the exercise as a national assignment that should be approached with the highest level of patriotism to ensure that future recurrences are forestalled. He lamented the alarming spate of building collapse in the country and called on all Nigerians to embrace and encourage the culture of doing things right. The court reconvenes on Friday, February 27, 2015.
Nosa Osazuwa, a writer from Lagos, Nigeria, was present during court proceedings.