The project site is part of a large expanse of land belonging to the church and already housing several structures, notably the Deeper Life Camp among others.
To this end, the Church has directed that all illegal structures, machinery and other personal possessions on the concerned parcel of land be immediately removed by their owners, as failure to do so immediately could lead to their demolition.
At a recent media briefing in Lagos, the Church said the take-off of the project had been delayed by the need to give all illegal occupants of parts of the project site ample time to voluntarily vacate the land, even though the Ogun State High Court had granted it Order of Demolition to remove all such structures as far back as April 2022.
The Order of Demolition was granted by Justice Abiodun Akinyemi on April 4th, 2022 in pursuant of an earlier ruling by the same court on July 15th, 2016 in suit number AB/251/2008 wherein the church, as claimant, was granted declaration of title, damages for trespass and perpetual injuction, among other reliefs, in respect of the land in dispute. Also, following the subsisting 2016 ruling of the court, a warrant for possession to complete the process of right of legal possession of the said land by the church was granted on 8th May 2017 and executed via a writ of possession dated January 1st, 2018.
The Inspector General of Police had also directed the Ogun State Police Command, in a letter dated 21st June, 2022 with reference number CB:3594/IGP.SEC/ABJ/VOL.9/28, to provide the church with all police facilities required to aid the possession.
The IGP’s directive followed a request made by the Church’s legal representatives for police presence and supervision of the execution of the order of demolition granted by the honourable court. The request was made via a letter dated 20th June, 2022.
Addressing the media at the Church’s Headquarters in Gbagada, Lagos, Chairman of the Church’s Land & Building Committee, Pastor Alfred Oghene, noted that as a humanitarian organisation, the Church had acted responsibly in giving a long period of notice and waiting for an appreciable time for all trespassers on the land to voluntarily leave before its current decision to execute its court affirmed right to repossess the illegally converted portions of the land.
“There is no dispute on the land because the last appeal on the matter of ownership was filed and disposed of in the church’s favour in 2017. In 2016, 2017 and even 2022, the rights of the church as the sole owner of the land have been affirmed by the court.
“As far back as 2018, the church has secured the Certificate of Occupancy on the land and has been discharging its financial obligations to the state government as spelt out in the C of O.
However, because of the kingdom attuned nature of our organisation, we have had to embrace a more conciliatory and pedestrian approach in driving off the illegal occupants on the land”, he explained.
Pastor Oghene stated that the church could no longer afford delays in repossessing the land because the project for which it was meant now needs it urgently. He therefore restated the church’s warning for all trespassers to immediately clear their illegal structures from the land or risk having them demolished.
According to him, “All the projects of the church for which the lands were foresightedly acquired are now at a stage that inform our need to repossess immediately. We have exhausted our patience and there is no time to waste again. So, we have resolved to move men and equipment to the sites to commence work. All structures or objects that have not been removed by their owners will not be spared”.