Prophet TB Joshua is mysteriously quiet about the tragedy at his church but he may yet find himself in court.
Angry Nigerians are setting wheels in motion to get the preacher arrested and charged with culpable homicide. The man of god may find himself face to face with the law.
“Charge Joshua!” is the growing call in Nigeria, while some organisations are already angrily accusing the
government of dragging its feet with the investigations because of its close relations with the preacher.
Lagos-based lawyer Samuel Ilori of Vote for Service Initiative, which advocates good governance and human rights, is threatening to take Prophet TB Joshua to court.
Ilori told a local Nigerian newspaper yesterday that Joshua broke the law by adding extra floors to the building.
He said Joshua knew the foundation could not deal with the additional floors but went ahead with the construction anyway.
“It’s criminal negligence. He should be charged with culpable homicide,” Ilori said.
His call was echoed by an insurance expert who told This Day newspaper that if Prophet TB Joshua had not insured the building, he must be charged.
The expert, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said no insurance company has come forward claiming to be the insurer, which means Prophet TB Joshua had broken the law.
According to the country’s Insurance Act of 2003, it is in violation of the Occupiers Liability Insurance not to insure a public building.
Occupiers’ liability covers the legal liabilities of an owner or occupier of any premises regarding injury to people in the building.
It also covers third parties as well in the case of a building collapsing because of a fire, earthquake, storm or flood.
“The collapsed guesthouse is a public building and if it was not insured accordingly, the owner, Prophet TB Joshua, is culpable,” he said.
“The government should prosecute him.” He said the penalty for such non-compliance is about R7 000.
Efforts by Daily Sun to get confirmation from the church were unsuccessful yesterday.
A secretary who answered the phone on a number given in one of the press statements released advised us to send an email. She could not say when we would get a response.
The call for Joshua to be prosecuted comes amid reports that journalists had been bribed to report favourably about the church.
Nigerian journalist Nicholas Ibekwee claimed that Joshua offered reporters about R3,000 each.
President Goodluck Jonathan is reported to be one of the pastor’s followers.
There are also reports that the government is reluctant to take action because it is scared of alienating his followers and elections are only months away.
The government was still tight-lipped yesterday about the scope of its investigations into the collapse which killed 115 people, including 84 South Africans.
Lagos state governor’s spokesman, Hakeem Bello, said the government in Abuja had convened a committee of state and federal agencies to investigate.