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Published On: Sat, Sep 20th, 2014

Synagogue Church Marked for Demolition as Chosen Church Collapses in Edo State

This complex of Synagogue Church of All Nations is marked for demolition


LAGOS SEPTEMBER 19TH (URHOBOTODAY)-The Lagos State Government has moved against the popular Synagogue Church of All Nations, Ikotun, whose one of its buildings collapsed last week killing scores of people including a 10-year-old kid with many others critically injured. The Lagos State Building Control Agency has, therefore, marked the main building of the church, asking for relevant documents to prove its structural integrity.
Residents of Uzama Street, Off Oliha Quartres, Egor Local Government of Edo State, were on Friday thrown into mourning when a section of a Church building located on the street collapsed, killing no fewer than three persons.

Collapsed building of Church Chosen Ministry in which three people lost their lives on Friday


The Synagogue Church structure which was under construction, was initially a two-storey building before the addition of four new floors which were under construction. As of Thursday, the death toll in the building collapse hit 80. Among the dead were 67 South Africans.
The General Manager, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Mrs. Abimbola Animashaun-Odunayo, who confirmed that the building had been marked by the agency, said it had requested that the church provides some documents, adding that a structural integrity test would be carried out on all the buildings in the church complex.
She said, “X’ (the mark on the building) does not mean demolition; it is for structural integrity test to be carried out on the building and the church is expected to provide all the documents for approval and the church has three months to do this.”
Asked if the building would be demolished in case the church failed to meet the requirements within the time frame, Animashaun-Odunayo declined to make further comments.
“Look, it is still under investigation; I can’t say more than that. I don’t even know who I am talking with on the phone,” she said.
LASBCA was recently created to enforce building control regulations and implement the 2010 Physical Planning, Urban Development and Building Law in the state.
The State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Olutoyin Ayinde, who spoke with one of our correspondents, also described the “X” sign as a ‘stop work order.’

“It is a stop work order. it doesn’t mean the building will be demolished,” he said. He explained the order became necessary so as to allow a structural integrity test on all the buildings in the church complex.
The commissioner said though there was an approval for the church auditorium, he was not certain that there was an approval for the additional work being done on the auditorium.
The President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, also described the “X” mark as notice to stop work on the building and also to draw attention to illegal activities on it. He said the notice could span up to seven days or more depending on the situation.
He said, “Work was ongoing on the six-storey building before it collapsed though the church said it was due to an aircraft hovering for a period of time but this aircraft could be traced and enquiry made.
“Technically speaking, the foundation of a house is the key for successive floors to sit comfortably.
“Presentation of papers such as the architectural drawings, structural drawings, soil test reports and many more would strengthen or weaken the evidence of the church.”
A former Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Architects, who is a member of the Building Collapse Prevention Guild Technical Committee on the investigation of the collapsed building at the Synagogue Church, Olufemi Shodunke, explained that the structural integrity test to be carried out on the building would involve professional judgement to determine its efficacy.
Shodunke said the professionals responsible for the construction of the collapsed guest house had yet to be identified and that the answer was important to the investigation of the committee.
An estate surveyor, Kayode Ogunji, who is also a member of the collapsed building investigation panel, said, “In the building language, when you have an ‘X’ sign labelled on a structure, it means there is a distress in that building; it means there is something wrong with the construction. It is either the building is tilting; sinking or the right materials were not used, and even before, during and after construction, if these tilts are discovered, the authority in charge will now come over there to tell the builders to stop

In a related development, residents of Uzama Street, Off Oliha Quartres, in Egor Local Government of Edo State, were on Friday thrown into mourning when a section of a building located on the street collapsed, killing no fewer than three persons.
It was gathered that the building, operated by a popular pentecostal church in Benin,Church Chosen Ministry , caved in when some youths in the area, hired by the management of the church, were carrying out a demolition exercise in order to create more space in the church compound.
One of the hired youths, who survived the incident disclosed that the owner of the building hired him for N3,000 per day. He said that, although nine of them were hired by the owner of the building, five of his colleagues were breaking the pillars of the building before tragedy struck. He said that other survivors were taken to an undisclosed hospital in critical condition.
He explained that the building, which collapsed at about 1pm, housed some officials of the church, who fled as soon as the incident occurred for fear of being lynched by angry youths in the area.
“The owner of Christ Chosen Church Deliverance Centre told us to demolish the building because they wanted more space in the compound. But some of us went out to eat because we were hungry.
“As we were eating, many people rushed to where we were coming from. We thought it was a fire outbreak. But when we got there, we discovered that the building has collapsed. “We were nine in number but four of my colleagues were in the building before it collapsed. Two were brought out alive with injuries. One died and two others are still inside.
“We have already demolished the upper part of the building and wanted to break the pillars of the lower parts, so that the building would fall. It was when one of us started work that the building fell,” he said.
A teenager, Osazu, suspected to be a relative to one of the victims who was said to have been brought out of the debris dead told our correspondent that he was alerted that the building where his brother, Orosa, aged 26, was working had collapsed.
“It was when I came back to rest after work that my brother came to tell me that the building where my brother went to collapsed. I don’t know if he is still alive because people are just telling me what happened,” he said.
Another resident attributed the collapse to greed on the part of the owner.
“How much is a crane to demolish the building? When I was passing, I wondered why a big church like this cannot hire a crane for N65,000 per day to do a neat job.
Some crowd of angry youths in the area were seen destroying the church auditorium, while a vehicle operated by the church was set ablaze.
However, the Edo State Commissioner of Police, Folusho Adebanjo, who visited the scene of the collapsed and confirmed the incident, said that one, out of the five persons working in the building died.
“One is unfortunately dead. There are rumours that we still have like two people there.
“Of course, there is absolute calm there now.
Some policemen were also seen trying to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

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