BreakingNews 21/4/16 - Synagogue: Counsel Protests Rushed Arraignment Of Contractors

[ Masterweb Reports: Nosa Osazuwa reports ] - On Tuesday 19th April 2016, the Lagos High Court arraigned the contractors who handled the collapsed building at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), despite their counsel decrying the unexpectedly rushed nature of the decision.


Counsel to the contractors, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), E.L Akpofure (SAN), Titilayo Akinlawon (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo told Justice Lawal Akapo of the Lagos High Court, Ikeja Division that as the business of the day was the ruling in the applications filed by the second and fifth defendants, it would be inappropriate and unjust to arraign the defendants who had not come to the court for the purpose of arraignment. 


One of the applications was praying for adjournment of the proceedings at the High Court pending the hearing of the application for stay of proceedings at the Court of Appeal. The second was praying for the charges against the second defendant to be quashed on the grounds that no evidence had been submitted to the court linking him to the charges. 


After quickly dismissing the applications filed by counsel to the contractors, Justice Akapo heeded the prayer of the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Idowu Alakija, to immediately arraign the contractors. 

The arraignment proceeded despite all pleas by counsel to the defendants, who argued the immediacy of the court’s actions amounted to injustice, coupled with the fact that E.L Akpofure had informed the court of his mother’s recent demise. 

Expressing their surprise and dismay, they contended that the court should have addressed the issue of the ruling and nothing more. 

Alakija, however, argued that because it was a criminal case, it required expeditious handling, leading to the registrar of the court reading out the 111-count charge to the accused who pleaded not guilty. 

The Lagos DPP thereafter prayed the court to remand the defendants in custody pending trial or the determination of their bail application. 


Lateef Fagbemi urged the DPP to expedite action in reacting to the bail application so that it could be determined quickly.


After listening to both sides, Justice Akapo ruled that the contractors be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the hearing of the bail applications by the fourth and fifth defendants to Tuesday 26th April 2016. 


Nosa Osazuwa ( Email: )was present during court proceedings. He wrote in from Lagos, Nigeria.


*Photo Caption - SCOAN Headquarters


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