This was expressed by an international expert and professor of building and structural engineering, Mr Patrick Okonkwo, as he continued his evidence at a Lagos High Court, Igbosere, presided over by Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo. Led in evidence by the defence counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo SAN, Nwankwo said: “For a building with structural failure, the mode of collapse should be gradual, it cannot be catastrophic or simultaneous because of the processes of hinges formation and the occupants will sufficiently notice cracks and deflections to enable them move out before it collapses. It is not possible for it to collapse like a park of cards as seen in the case of Synagogue.”
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He further said that “the synagogue guest house with rigid frame structures, which had been completed over a year, the whole twelve frames could not have collapsed in the mode in which it happened. It would have been partial and never catastrophic as it happened.”
Nwankwo, who is the eighth defence witness in the ongoing trials of the contractors and supervisors of the collapsed building which claimed over a hundred lives on September 12, 2014, said he carried out an independent and thorough investigation on the collapsed guest house of the church in order to get to the root of the cause. Giving evidence further, Nwankwo said he carried out structural analysis using Orion Design Software modelling on the beams, columns, foundation, anchorage, expansion joints, rigid zones and mechanism vis-a-vis the internationally accepted codes of practice for engineering, which is British Standard, BS,
His words: “Before mechanism occurs, there should be elasticity, yielding and plasticity of the elements and this was never the case in the collapsed Synagogue guest house. Therefore investigations clearly showed that the collapsed building was never structurally deficient in any way.
Justice Lawal-Akapo adjourned further hearing to December 13, 19 and 20.