IKEJA – The founder, Synagogue Church Of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua, on Friday asked an Ikeja High Court to stop the ongoing coroner’s inquest into the Sept.12 collapsed building in the church.
Mr Olalekan Ojo, the counsel to Joshua, in application before the coroner, said the suit was before Justice Lateefat Okunnu.
Ojo asked the coroner, Mr Oyetade Komolafe, to suspend further proceedings on the inquest, pending when the court would either uphold or reject Joshua’s prayers.
“My Lord, most respectfully, we have applied for a judicial review of the proceedings of this honourable court so far.
“We may be right, we may be wrong.
“But, what we are saying is that this coroner court has been extending and it is still extending its inquisitions into areas outside the statutory jurisdiction of the coroner court.
“What we are saying is, if the High Court agrees with us to set aside such portions of the proceedings that it adjudges to have been conducted in excess of jurisdiction, it should prohibit the coroner from further acting in excess of its jurisdiction.
“The strict scope of the coroner’s inquest is ascertaining the cause and the manner of death.
“It will be in the best interest of all of us if the High Court agrees with us,” Ojo said.
He also urged the coroner to accord the High Court respect and dignity by not taking any further action that could prejudice the suit before the judge.
Responding, Komolafe said he had not been served with any court process.
Komolafe said he was not obliged to suspend sittings till the High Court’s decision came, adding that nobody should create impression that the inquest was a trial court.
He said that it was only self-restraint and the spirit of fairness that was preventing him from issuing a bench warrant against Joshua for failing to appear before the court.
“Let me give this to you, so that you don’t create the impression to the world that anybody is after anybody, because, in fact, you saw me writing; it is the bench warrant for that man.
“But you see, let me give him a long rope to pull.
“The court cannot be taken for granted and nobody, I repeat, nobody can do that, not even him. I just want you to advise him accordingly.
“I don’t even need to listen to this application, just to tell you that nobody is being prosecuted or being put on trial.
“The point I want to make is that, that fellow, whoever, he is, he is not above the laws of the land and he dare not try it.
” Take that message back to him, that not on earth should he try to rubbish the court and never on earth should he try to use his hand to touch the sword of the state because if he does, he would have himself to blame.
“What I am saying is that Joshua should respect himself and not drag the law of the land into the mud,” he said.
The coroner, therefore, adjourned further hearing till Dec. 3. (NAN)