TB Joshua challenges summons

2014-11-20 18:15
(<a href=' https://www.facebook.com/tbjministries?fref=ts'>TB Joshua, Facebook</a>)

(TB Joshua, Facebook)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - Lawyers for Nigerian preacher TB Joshua said on Thursday they had mounted a legal challenge against a coroner who has ordered him to testify about a fatal building collapse at his Lagos megachurch.

Joshua has been summonsed twice to give evidence at an inquest examining the circumstances of the 12 September tragedy in which 116 people were killed, but failed to appear on both occasions.

The latest no show by the popular televangelist on Thursday angered coroner Oyetade Komolafe, who said he would order his arrest.

But the pastor's lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, told reporters after the hearing: "We have gone to the high court to challenge the jurisdiction of the coroner to issue a witness summons.

"The coroner has unconsciously exceeded his jurisdiction in that he has started inquiring into matters that are not causative of deaths."

Komolafe was furious that Joshua, known to his followers as "The Prophet" or "The Man of God", was not present for the start of proceedings on Thursday after failing to appear on 5 November.

On that occasion, Ojo said Joshua had been "unavoidably absent" and failed to receive the summons. "We don't want the impression to be created that The Prophet is avoiding the court," he said.

On Thursday, Komolafe said: "Any of the witnesses who is not in court today will be arrested. I think the court has been lenient enough."

Milk of human kindness

Joshua, who counts presidents and powerful politicians from across Africa among his flock, has claimed the collapse was caused by a mysterious aircraft seen "hovering" over the building at the time.

The self-styled miracle worker and seer has also suggested that it was a deliberate attack.

But expert witnesses have ruled out the theory of aerial sabotage or an explosion.

The hearing has been told instead that the stricken guesthouse did not have planning permission and that a number of other buildings at Joshua's Synagogue Church of All Nations complex were structurally unsound.

A total of 81 South Africans were among the dead. Seventy-four bodies were repatriated from Lagos last weekend.

Ojo confirmed that his client had received the latest summons and added that his appearance was conditional on the outcome of the high court challenge.

Prophet respects law

"The Prophet has respect for the law of the land and will not do anything that will hurt the law," he said.

"If at the end of the day, it is appropriate for The Prophet to appear he will be in court. We do not intend to abuse the legal process.

"Besides, The Prophet has a milk of human kindness. He is still grieving over the horrendous loss of lives. Coming to court is not proper. It is not a good way of showing respect for the dead."

There have been calls for Joshua to be prosecuted over the building collapse after the Lagos State authorities suggested it was caused by the illegal addition of extra floors.

But Komolafe has said that the inquest was not a criminal court.

"We are here to find facts, find out what has happened, why, where, when and how so as to prevent a recurrence," he said on the opening day of the hearing on 13 October.

Read more on:    scoan  |  tb joshua  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  nigeria building collapse

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
52 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.