Court ends CMC, returns Oritsejafor’s suit against Lagos for reassignment
A Lagos High Court (TBS) has ended the Case Management Conference (CMC) held on the suit filed by former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and his Church, World of Life Bible Church against Lagos State government over alleged demolition of the church property in Victoria Island, Lagos by the agents of the state government.
The cleric, suing under the incorporated trustees of Word of Life Bible Church is asking the court to declare that the sealing of its property since April 2014 is wrong, illegal and unlawful.
Respondents in the suit are Governor of Lagos State, Attorney General of Lagos State, Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority and Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation.
Justice Deborah Oluwayemi ended the CMC after counsel to the plaintiff, Mr. Bankole Kayode moved the court to so hold. As a result, the case file has been ordered returned to the administrative judge for reassignment to a trial judge. Counsel for the defendants, Idowu Alakija, who is a director in the Lagos state ministry of Justice did not show up, but a lawyer from the ministry, who stood in for her, could not convince the judge to continue with CMC.
According to amended statement of claim, the claimant said sometime in 2003, it acquired interest and title in the land situate and being at Plot 21E, Abdulrahman Okene Close, Off Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island Annex, Lagos.
It stated that the property had certificate of occupancy from Hajiya Aisha Mata Abdulraham dated November 23, 1991, that she had her mortgage dated September 27, 1994 with defunct Habib Nigeria Bank Limited foreclosed and the property was sold to the claimant by the bank through a Deed of Assignment.
“The claimant took immediate and undisturbed possession of the land and it has an uncompleted building thereat, without any let or disturbance from the defendant and then applied to the defendants and secured an approval for a change of use of the land from residential to institutional (place of worship), vide letter dated September 7, 2004.
“The claimants application for building plan approval was received, processed and assessed for payment of various sums of money, which the claimant promptly paid,” it claimed, wondering why the defendants would halt its project on the site.