A Sagamu High Court, Ogun State will on September 13 rule on whether to temporarily restrain the Redeemed Christian Church of God from using a portion of the Redemption Camp along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway pending the determination of a suit challenging the church’s claim to it.
A family, Olowo-Olisa of Ewu-Odofin Village, Sagamu Local Government Area, claiming to be the owner of the land measuring 31.353 hectares, sued the church and its General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, accusing them of trespassing.
Five persons – Chief Adeboye Jayesinmi, Alhaji Jamiu Ayodeji, Chief Jinadu Obisola, Chief Adebonpe Oduntan and Ganiyu Ayodeji – filed the suit on behalf of the family.
The disputed land forms part of the rear fringes of the Redemption Camp.
Justice E.O Osinuga fixed the date for ruling after hearing parties’ argument on the application for the interlocutory injunction by the family.
Osinuga had on July 25 ordered parties in the suit to maintain status quo pending when the application would be heard.
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 wants 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.”
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.”
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.”