Church laments police continued occupation of premises
As members of Embrace International Assembly, Ikorodu, Lagos, prepare for this year’s Embrace 11 with the theme: “The Awesome God,” the Board of Trustees of the church has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to prevail on the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, Imohimi Edgal to withdraw his men from the church premises, which they alleged was illegally occupied by the police.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos, which comprised Pastor Adebayo Adio; Pastor Tunji Amokade; Pastor Lateef Olaleye and Pastor Segun Oluwadoromi, the board said the continued occupation of the church premises since five weeks now had denied members access to worship their God. They wondered why the police presumed to be friend of everybody should seal their church premises at 89/93, Obafemi Awolowo Road, Erunwen Junction, Ikorodu, Lagos, without any justification.
To buttress their argument, Pastor Adio, who led other members of the Board showed the press a letter, which the church wrote to the Inspector General of Police, dated February 23, 2018 and titled: “Re: The Illegal and unlawful use of armed policemen by Foursquare Gospel Church to seal up the premises of Embrace International Christian Assembly in Ikorodu, Lagos.”
The letter reads in part: “We are an interdenominational Christian Church at 89/93, Obafemi Awolowo Road, Erunwen Junction, Ikorodu, Lagos. We are constrained to approach your high office with the continued presence of armed policemen in our church premises under the guise of executing an Order to seal up the premises at the instance of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria.
“On February 9, 2018, a team of policemen purportedly acting under the instruction of the Commissioner of Police Lagos had stormed the property and in the middle of worship service turned out at gun points all the members of our church on the premise that they had orders of court to seal the property. The Order was never shown to anyone, despite repeated demands for same by all. We make bold to say and challenge the Commissioner of Police Lagos State to show to us the said Order directing that the property be sealed up. It is interesting to say sir, that there is no single order no matter how scanty to seal our church Embrace International Assembly.
“Our church is sued as the 3rd defendant in a suit commenced at the instance of one Chief Kameel Adisa Dada and others before Justice Akapo Lawal of the Ikorodu High Court, Lagos, wherein the said Chief Kameel Adisa Dada claims ownership of our property. That matter is currently ongoing and no Order has been made in the said suit against any of the Defendants let alone our Church Embrace International Assembly.”
The board lamented that the church had on February 12, 2018 written to the Police Commissioner in Lagos State, and when there was no reply from CP’s office, the church deemed it necessary to write him again on March 3, 2018. Part of that letter was also shown to the press and it reads: “Sir, the Nigeria Police must distance itself from Foursquare Gospel Church as it has done similar thing in the past with the Nigerian Army. She had then sponsored armed soldiers in the same fashion as this, though that was more violent with a resolve to wrestle the land from us. The violent incursion of that day would have resulted into serious fatality were it not for policemen from Area N Police Command Ijede, Ikorodu who saved the day. That violent incursion has led to several fundamental rights suits pending at the Federal High Court, Lagos against the incorporated Trustee of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria and of course, they were in gross denial of the soldiers leaving them to hang in the balance.”
“Assuming without conceding that the said Orders of Court are not complied with, it is yet not ripe for the police. This is so because our law already makes very robust provisions for how to deal with people who fail to comply with or prevent the orders of court, hence the allowance of contempt proceedings. Are armed policemen on the property part of contempt proceedings? The answer is evidently no.
“Sir, we are confident that you would agree with us unless you are convinced that from the tenor of the said order the Court directed that the property be sealed up. This is nothing but abuse of the system by whatever means possible by a fellow Christian organisation and must not be allowed.”
“We pray your good office to direct the policemen stationed on the property to vacate our property, as our lawful use and worship of Christ poses no threat to law and order. If all the parties have surrendered themselves to the jurisdiction of the Court of land, it behoves them to behave accordingly. An order of injunction restraining an individual should not be interpreted to mean an order to seal up, especially when the person sought to be sealed up is a party to an earlier suit over the same property. Embrace is not in Court with Foursquare Gospel Church and no one can force a man to a battle it does not want to fight.”
In conclusion, the church, while thanking the CP for his patience and consideration, urged him to remove his men from the church premises so they could worship their God in an atmosphere of peace.
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