Chief Medical Examiner of Lagos State, Professor John Obafunwa, yesterday, presented a preliminary report to a Coroner’s Inquest set up to investigate the cause of the September 12 collapse of a guest house owned by the Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, where 116 people died.
Obafunwa, a Consultant Pathologist, who was led in evidence by Mr Akingbolahan Adeniran, Counsel to the Lagos State Government, ruled out explosion as the possible cause of the building collapse at the church. According to him, no blast injuries were found on any of the victims.
“Bodies were mutilated, severe crush, head injuries, fractured bones, fractured ribs,” said Obafunwa.
“We had some badly dismembered bodies. But I would not say it was because of explosion,” he added.
Following the collapse of the building, founder of the church Prophet TB Joshua had claimed that a low-flying aircraft found hovering round the building before it caved in was to blame for the incident.
Experts have however rubbished his claim, insisting the collapse was as a result of too much pressure on the foundation of the building, as more stories than initially planned for were added without strengthening the foundation.
Obafunwa continued: “In a tropical environment, decomposition could set in within 12 hours. From autopsy we have reason to suggest traumatic factor as the cause of death and this is as a result of crush,” he added.
A Lagos State fire fighter had last week also told the hearing that there was no evidence of an explosion at the site.
In the same vein, the southwest coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, also said there was no indication of the use of explosives.
The inquest heard that 116 people died in total, 84 of them South Africans, revising the death toll upwards by one.