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Maba residents, church bicker over demolition of property

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
06 February 2023   |   4:55 am
Residents and landlords of Maba town in Asese area of Obafemi Owode local council of Ogun State, have alleged that Deeper Christian Life Ministry illegally demolished their properties in Peace and Unity Estate.

Protesters at Maba

•Church denies allegation 

Residents and landlords of Maba town in Asese area of Obafemi Owode local council of Ogun State, have alleged that Deeper Christian Life Ministry illegally demolished their properties in Peace and Unity Estate.

The residents alleged that the church engaged the community in a land dispute over a boundary point they share, noting that while the case is pending at Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta, the church invaded the community.

Peace and Unity Estate is in Maba community, which shares a boundary with the church, where the campsite is situated. The residents alleged that the church mobilised armed thugs and policemen to invade their peaceful community and inflicted injuries on them as they destroyed their properties worth millions of naira.

Reacting to the allegation, spokesperson of the church, Pastor Segun Babatope said that Maba residents took over the church’s land. He refuted the use of thugs, as he added that the church would not do anything contrary to the law. He said that the residents have no Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) over the land.

According to him, “did you ask the residents if they have the certificate of ownership. You all know the church for holiness and we shall call a press conference on Sunday to address the issue,” Babatope said.

However, chairman of Unity Estate, Mr. Richard Omoniyi, addressing newsmen at the scene of the demolition, said in an attempt to get the matter resolved amicably without violence, the landlords wrote to the church headquarters in the Gbagada, Lagos State and when there was no response, they approached Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta.

Omoniyi said Justice O. Ogunfowora, in a suit number, AB/131/2021, had restrained the Incorporated Trustees Of Deeper Christian Life Ministry and one Franklyn Osezua who were both the defendants in the suit from further demolishing any house at Unity Estate, Maba Town.

According to him, the judge ordered that no one should bring caterpillars, thugs or anybody into the land in dispute, building, constructing or forcefully taking over the land in dispute lying, being and situation at Jekayinfa Arigbabu Family Land, now known as Unity Estate, Maba Town, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, pending determination of the substantive suit.

The chairman said that the court further restrained the defendants’ agents, workmen or anybody acting under their instruction from further disturbing the 73 Claimants’ possession and or from further demolishing any of their houses at Unity Estate, Maba Town. He said: “Despite subsisting order and ongoing trial the Deeper Christian Life Ministry stormed the community and disobeyed the order of the court.

“There were series of efforts made by the landlords to engage the church before approaching the court for justice after several encroachments, because our land is captured in Survey Plan No. EMS/OG2009/082 dated 11-10-2009 drawn by a registered surveyor, Mr E.0. Adeleye.”

“After acquiring our land and collecting all necessary documents, the landlords registered the Unity Estate as a Community Development Association with the Ogun State Ministry of Community Development and Cooperatives.”