Coroner threatens Nigerian `prophet` for second inquest no-show

A coroner on Thursday said he would order the arrest of a Nigerian preacher after he again failed to appear to give evidence about a deadly building collapse at his Lagos megachurch.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 20, 2014, 16:06 PM IST

Lagos: A coroner on Thursday said he would order the arrest of a Nigerian preacher after he again failed to appear to give evidence about a deadly building collapse at his Lagos megachurch.

Oyetade Komolafe was furious that TB Joshua was not in court for the start of the hearing, which is examining the circumstances of the September 12 tragedy in which 116 people were killed.

"So, TB Joshua is not in court, the (building) contractor is not in court. Any of the witnesses who is not in court today will be arrested," the coroner said.

"I will issue a warrant of arrest for such a witness. I think the court has been lenient enough."

Joshua, a popular evangelical preacher and televangelist known to his followers as "The Prophet" and "The Man of God", had previously been told to the give evidence on November 5.

But his lawyer said that both he and the building contractors had not received the witness summons. There was no immediate explanation for his non-appearance on Thursday.

Joshua, who counts presidents and powerful politicians from across Africa among his flock, has claimed that the collapse was caused by a mysterious aircraft seen "hovering" over the building at the time.

The self-styled miracle worker and seer has also suggested that it was a deliberate attack.

But expert witnesses have ruled out the theory of aerial sabotage or an explosion.

The hearing has been told instead that the stricken guesthouse did not have planning permission and that a number of other buildings at Joshua`s Synagogue Church of All Nations were structurally unsound.

A total of 81 South Africans were among the dead. Seventy-four bodies were repatriated from Lagos last weekend.