Church Ownership Tussle: Pastor Demands N10bn Damages From Air-Force Officer

A Pastor, Adesuyi Oluwagbemilele of “Thy Kingdom Come Deliverance Church International,’’ Abuja, has urged the FCT High Court, Abuja, to order Air Vice Marshall Adebowale Odunlade, a serving Air Force officer, to pay him the sum of N10 billion, as general damages for personal injuries and breach of duty, which he suffered from Odunlade over their disagreement on ownership of the church.

Oluwagbemileke, in a writ of summons filed against Odunlade by his counsel, Chief Nkereuwem Akpan, in suit No: FCT/ HC/ CV/2406/2015, and made available to the Street Journal on Sunday, joined his church as a co-plaintiff.

The aggrieved pastor joined Odunlade, Life Spring Foundation Church, the Chief of Air Staff and the FCT Commissioner of Police, as co-defendants.

The plaintiff prayed the court to declare that the conduct of Odunlade who, he alleged, threatened to kill him with his service pistol, was unlawful.

He contended that Odunlade’s attempt to take over Thy Kingdom Come Deliverance Church International from him was unlawful.

The pastor sought a court declaration that the use of thugs and security operatives by the first to third defendants to severally prevent him from entering the Church premises was unlawful.

He also sought a court declaration that the use of policemen by the FCT Commissioner of Police to chase away worshipers from the church premises on July 5, 2015, was equally unlawful.

The plaintiff urged the court to hold that, having voluntarily withdrawn from the Trusteeship of the church, Odunlade could not continue to exercise any rights in the Church’s board of trustees.

The pastor further averred in his statement of claim that his church was incorporated under the extant provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2004, with registration number “RC IT/67374’’.

He further stated that Odunlade was a member of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, in particular, a serving Air Vice-Marshall in the Nigerian Air Force.

He also averred that the second defendant (Life Spring Foundation Church) was purported to be registered under the laws of Nigeria with Odunlade as its owner.

According to the pastor, sometime in February 2014, Odunlade approached as the General Overseer of “Thy Kingdom Come Deliverance Church International’’ for spiritual assistance.

He claimed that he prayed for Odunlade which spurred him to become a member of the church and subsequently appointed a trustee upon the registration of the Church on February 17, 2014.

The pastor said that a problem ensued when Odunlade brought one Mr Dele Omolade and 20 others as pastors and in consideration the first defendant would pay the plaintiffs some N30 million to relinquish his position as General Overseer.

Irked by his refusal of the “ungodly offer,’’ the pastor claimed that Odunlade declared total war on him and the church.

Pastor Oluwagbemilele further contended that AVM Odunlade had made several attempts on his life by threatening to take his life with his service pistol.

He claimed that Odunlade had openly threatened to kill him and destroy the Church through the use of excessive unlawful force.

This, he said, was in spite of the fact that Odunlade had since withdrawn from the church and established his own Church (Life Spring Foundation) serving as its General Overseer.

Odunlade, he said, had continued to send thugs, policemen and air force officers to the premises of his church to harass its members, without justifiable reasons.

The Pastor further contended that Odunlade had published defamatory words against him in the media and elsewhere to the hearing of third parties who were prepared to testify.

He also submitted that the activities of the first defendant had dragged the image of the Nigerian Air Force in particular and the Nigerian Armed Forces in general in the mud.

The pastor said that he and the co-plaintiffs were compelled to approach the court because all official steps made to address the Air Force officer’s misconduct had failed.

The case has yet to be assigned to a judge of the court.

Author: newsadmin2

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