Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe, the coroner investigating Synagogue building collapse on Wednesday said that he has received the list of the people lodging in the building prior to the accident.
The coroner had demanded for the list from the Synagogue Church of All Nations, following a request by the Lagos State Chief Forensic Pathologist, Prof. John Obafunwa.
Obafunwa, leading a team of forensic pathologists conducting autopsy on the bodies of the accident victims, assured that his team will reveal the identities of all dead persons upon the conclusion of their work, this he said was the reason they needed the list of the lodgers.
The pathologist, who said his team was able to identify 100 per cent and 98 per cent of the victims of the Associated Airline and Dana Airline accidents respectively, assured that Synagogue’s case would not be different.
Obafunwa gave this assurance while answering questions under cross-examination by lawyer to the church, Mr. Olalekan Ojo.
He said, “We know what we had to do and how we had to do it. The same thing happened in the Dana crash in which we identified 98 per cent of the victims. This same thing happened in the Associated Airline crash in which we identified 100 per cent of the victims.”
In his testimonies, the pathologist told the coroner that his final report will, apart from revealing the identities of the victims, also give the cause of their deaths and the possible cause of the building collapse.
“The final report will contain the various causes of death, which will answer so many questions as to what collapsed the building.
“It will tell us who died in the accident, by way of disaster victim identification,” Obafunwa said.
The pathologist further testified that he was in the position to tell whether the victims were exposed to smoke or corrosive odours from an explosive, if it was true that the building collapsed as a result of detonations.
He said, “As a forensic pathologist, I can identify the effect of corrosive burns, even when I was not there, even with just the photographs (taken during autopsy) and the detailed information from the autopsy report.
“Something related to that is the presence or absence of smoke after 10 days of embalment. You don’t look for smoke outside the body; the evidence of smoke inhalation is in the lungs and we took samples of the lungs and examined them under the microscope.
“If a building collapsed as a result of explosion, there could be a variety of injuries. Some people might die from the crush effect, some people might die as a result of fire; the fire could occur before or even after, you will still see burns. The question is whether the person died in the fire or before the fire. The person could die as a result of severe blood loss because of injury from shrapnels. There are multiple ways in which death could arise when you have an explosion, you could have complete disintegration; I am just giving a general answer.”
Also testifying, Mr Oladimeji Ige, Resource Development and Training Officer, the Nigerian Red Cross Society, said his team participated in the search and rescue of the victims.
“When we got to the church, nobody prevented us from entering the collapse site.
“In total, the Nigerian Red Cross provided one ambulance, while the church provided at least 10 ambulances.
“We worked with other volunteers of the church in carrying the victims to the hospital ,” he said