The trial of popular Nigerian television evangelist T.B. Joshua and two engineers for criminal negligence has been postponed after the televangelist and engineers failed to show up in court.
One of the directors of his Church was however present in court on Monday.
The three are facing charges of criminal negligence after a 6-storey hostel used by the Church’s foreign visitors in Lagos collapsed on September 12, 2014 killing 116 people, mostly South Africans.
The defendants do not appear to be aware that this is a criminal case...
The trial judge, Lawal Akapo, who was unhappy about the failure of the 3 to appear in court said “the defendants do not appear to be aware that this is a criminal case. This is a criminal trial and a sensitive issue which should be dealt with in an accelerated manner,” stressing he would not tolerate any unnecessary delays in the trial.
The trial before the Federal High Court in Lagos follows the indictment last July of Pastor T. B Joshua’s Church, Synagogue Church of All Nations and two engineers for their role in the disaster.
Coroner Oyetade Komolafe in his verdict blamed the cause of the collapse on structural failure and argued the Church had not obtained the relevant approval before putting up the building.
The church however rejected the verdict and described it as “unreasonable, partial and biased”.
T.B Joshua, whose faithfuls includes Presidents and politicians from across Africa, says a mysterious plane spotted “lurking” over the building at the time caused it to collapse.
At the hearing on Monday, the court was informed that the two engineers had not received a subpoena. The judge then ordered the defense team to furnish the court with the address of the engineers.
T.B Joshua, an evangelical pastor, called “The Prophet” by his followers, has repeatedly ignored the summons of the Nigerian justice during the investigation.