Court nullifies church’s application to stop land dispute suit
Mr. Justice Olugboyega Ogunfowora of Ogun State High Court, sitting in Ota has dismissed the application filed by the Registered Trustees of World Mission Agency Incorporated, popularly known as Winners’ Chapel International.
The application sought to stop a suit filed against the Church’s possession of part of a vast land housing Covenant University (CU).
But the judge dismissed the application filed by the church and its founder, Bishop David Oyedepo.
A family, represented by Messrs. Monsuru Ogunseye, Alani Ogunseye, Madam Muinatu Ogunseye and Rasheed Dada had challenged the Church over 13 acres of land.
While ruling on the application, the judge ordered the family to proceed with their claims including the process to reclaim 13 acres from the landed property.
The family had filed the suit over Covenant University, located along with Idiroko Road, Ado-Odo/Ota, Ogun State.
The family had on July 13, 2017, got a Court of Appeal’s verdict endorsing their ownership to 13 acres of the disputed land.
Following the judgment, negotiation started, but the parley later hit the rocks, prompting the family to sue for themselves and on behalf of other members of Ogunseye family.
The family are therefore praying for an order declaring that by virtue of the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on July 13, 2017, in Appeal No: CA/1/264/2010, they are the owners of the land and are entitled to possess 13 acres of land out of a total area of 508.996 acres of land among other prayers.
Alternatively, the claimants are asking the court to order the defendants to pay them the sum of N1.4b being the current market value of the 13 acres of land on the basis of valuation reports prepared by Lekan Akinwunmi & Co, a firm of estate surveyor and valuer.
Also, the landowning family are seeking a declaration that they are entitled to damages for occupation and use of their land from 1998 -2018 in the sum of N60m, which they alleged is in tandem with the valuation reports by Lekan Akinwunmi & Co.
Similarly, the claimants are seeking an order that the defendants pay to them the sum of N60m being the assessed value of the occupation and use of their land by the defendants from 1998 – 2018 and thereafter at a pro-rated N3m per annum among others.
But the defendants had contended that the suit was statute barred and therefore should be dismissed.
However, ruling on the application, Ogunfowora said: “I thus agree with the claimants that the cause of action arose from July 13, 2017, when the Court of Appeal gave its judgment and not from 1998 as posited by the defendants/applicants in their application and the supporting documents.
“The application accordingly lacks merit and is dismissed with costs assessed at N50, 000,” the judge ruled.
Although, the defendants acquired a large expanse of land from different families, the subject matter in the suit is a large expanse land covering 13 acres measuring 52,611 square metres and form part of the land accommodating World Mission Agency Incorporated popularly known as Winners.
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