A Lagos State High Court on Wednesday adjourned till February 8, 2016 to rule on two applications seeking to stop the prosecution of the two engineers who built the collapsed Synagogue Church Of All Nation’s six-storey building.
The collapsed building killed 116 persons on September 12, 2014.
The engineers, Messrs Oladele Ogundeji and Akinbela Fatiregun, and their companies, Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company; and Jandy Trust Limited, have been charged with 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Also joined in the charge, filed before a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, are the Registered Trustees of SCOAN, who were accused of building without securing the state approval.
The two engineers and their companies have however filed separate applications challenging the competence of the manner with which the charge sheet was served on them.
The presiding judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, had on December 11, 2015 granted an application by the prosecution to serve the engineers through substituted means by pasting the court processes on the front doors of their residential houses in the Alagbado and Ikeja areas of Lagos.
But the defendants through their lawyers, Chief E.L. Akpofure (SAN) and Mrs. Titi Akinlawon (SAN), are contending that the order to serve them by substituted means was wrongfully granted by Justice Lawal-Akapo.
Akpofure, who appeared for Ogundeji and Hardrock Construction and Engineering Company on Wednesday, described the judge as functus officio and urged him to set aside the order for substituted service because it was obtained in breach of the relevant laws.
He argued that in the absence of a valid service everything done by the court would be a nullity.
“What we are saying is that the ruling of Your Lordship was predicated on an ex parte application, wherein they (prosecution) were asking for an order to paste the court processes.
“And so, if it is a nullity, the law enjoins Your Lordship to exercise your power to set it aside,” Akpofure said.