Bad Construction Caused Nigerian Church Collapse, Coroner Says

The collapse of a building in a Nigerian church compound owned by faith-healer T.B. Joshua, in which 116 people died in September, was caused by bad design and poor construction, a coroner said.

Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations should face sanctions as provided by the law for building without required permits while the structural engineer who oversaw the construction should be tried for criminal negligence, Lagos state Coroner Oyetade Komolafe said in his ruling on Wednesday in Nigeria’s commercial capital.

Government agencies in charge of building regulations need to be “rid of corruption, including the issuance of fake receipts and greasing of palms during the inspection of construction work,” Komolafe said.

The inquest started on Oct. 13 to determine the circumstances that led to the sudden crumbling of the six-story building that served as a guest house. Joshua, who says he can cure cancer, AIDS and other illnesses, didn’t honor multiple summons to testify at the inquest and blamed the accident on an aircraft that he said flew over the building. Komolafe ruled out that claim.

The dead included included 81 South Africans, 22 Nigerians, and nationals from Togo and Benin.

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