The claimants, who are five members of a family – Olowo-Olisa of Ewu-Odofin Village, Sagamu Local Government Area – had requested for the injunction to restrain the church from using the parcel of land measuring 31.353 hectares.
The family had sued the church and its General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, accusing them of trespassing.
Justice E. O. Osinuga, in refusing the application on Tuesday, held in a ruling that “balance of convenience” was in favour of the church.
She said, “From the pleadings before the court, it is obvious that there are serious issues to be tried.
“However, the court observes that balance of convenience tilts more on the side of the defendants, having regard to the fact that the defendants have the wherewithal to compensate and or pay the claimants/applicants for damages should it be found at the trial that the defendants are in fact, trespassers to claimants’ land.”
The court also held that the family also failed to state in their affidavits if they had sufferred any damages.
Osinuga said, “The claimants did not state in their affidavits in support that they have suffered any damages.
“However, it is the view of the court that having regard to paragraph 25 of the claimants’ amended statement of claim, damages will be enough to compensate them for any damages suffered.”
Five persons – Chief Adeboye Jayesinmi, Alhaji Jamiu Ayodeji, Chief Jinadu Obisola, Chief Adebonpe Oduntan and Ganiyu Ayodeji – had filed the suit on behalf of the family.
The disputed land forms part of the rear fringes of the Redemption Camp.
Counsel for the family, Mr. Yemi Omodele, had asked the court to restrain the defendants “from further trespassing or bringing in caterpillars and tractors with a view to bulldozing the land or constructing any building(s) on the claimants’ pieces of land” pending the determination of the suit.
Omodele also urged the court to restrain the defendants or their agents “from holding meetings, programmes, seminars” and “from harassing, intimidating, chasing or attempting to forcefully take over” the land while the suit is pending.
One of the plaintiffs, Ayodeji, in an affidavit stated, “The pieces of land, the subject of this suit are free from government acquisition. No part of the land was sold by members of my family to either the defendants or any other persons whatsoever.”
However, a pastor of the church, Akindele Babawande, in a counter-affidavit, said the church is the genuine owner of the land, insisting that the claimants’ intention was to “disturb the defendants from continuing possessing the land validly bought by them.”
He stated that on June 15, 2012, the defendants, through their agents, held a “vigil” on the land praying for the death of those who would stop them from occupying the land.
Ayodeji added that on June 22 and 23, 2012, the agents of the defendants “invaded” the land “with different set of persons and work implements, caterpillars and a host of others thereby destroying economic trees and even threatened to demolish my family ancestral homes, despite the pending suit.”