Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Lagos govt vs Christ Embassy: Legal battle begins over land

CourtJustice Samuel Candide-Johnson of a Lagos High court, will today, begin hearing on an interlocutory application praying him to restrain the Lagos State government from interfering with the Believers Love World (Christ Embassy), landed property situated at Oyeleke Street, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

In the substantive case before the court, the church had been contesting ownership of the parcel of land with the Executors of the estate of Chief R.A Randle, which is also laying claim to the ownership of the property.

The executors of the estate of Chief Randle are claiming that the area occupied by the church is part of the estate of the deceased, but the church is claiming the ownership of the land, which according to it was acquired from Neimeth Pharmacy with registered titles.

However, as the controversy and the litigation were on-going, the state government revoked the title of the church through a letter dated February 15, 2013 signed by the state governor, Babatunde Fashola, SAN, asking the church to vacate the said land within seven days for public use.

To forestall the taking over of the property before the determination of its main suit, the church is praying the court through an interlocutory injunction to stop the government from going further with its action.

At today’s proceedings, the high court is expected to listen to arguments of parties on why the government should not go ahead to acquire the landed property.

Brought as defendants in the suit are Mrs Titilola Awosusi, Alhaja Omolara Ademosu, Mr Abayomi Willoughby (Executrices and executor of the estate of late Chief R.A Randle for themselves and other beneficiaries of the estate of late Chief R.A Randle) and Lagos State Government.

Christ Embassy had brought the application dated March 7, 2013, via a Motion on Notice pursuant to Order 39 of the HighCourtofLagosState (Civil Procedure) Rules and on the grounds that there is an urgent need to stop the state government from interfering with the subject matter of the suit.

The state government had attributed its revocation order of the land for public use. The letter read in part; “Whereas the Governor of Lagos State of Nigeria requires for overriding public interest (extension of the Government Secretariat and provision of multi-level car park), all that parcel of land together with any development thereon situate and lying along Oyeleke Street, Oregun village in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State measuring approximately 9183.257 square meters, the boundaries of which are described in the schedule hereto and more particularly delineated in the plan at the office of the Director Land Services, Lagos State Lands Bureau, Governor’s Office, the Secretariat Alausa, Ikeja Lagos State Nigeria.

“Now therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred on me pursuant to Section 28 of the Land Use Act, I Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the Governor of Lagos State hereby give this notice of revocation to the holder to revoke the existing right of occupancy in the said land with effect from seven (7) days of service of this notice for the reasons given above.

“That any holder, owner or occupier of the said land or any part of it is accordingly directed to yield up possession of the land on or before the expiration of the period specified in this notice.”

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