A Lagos based businessman, Gerald Chukwueke and four others have urged the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal to commit to prison, a popular Lagos Pastor, Paul Adefarasin and his church, House on the Rock for allegedly disobeying a court order restraining them from further trespassing on a land located in the Lekki area of the state.
Justice Adebisi Akinlade of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere had on April 7, 2016 after listening to counsel for the parties ordered that status quo be maintained by the parties pending the hearing of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction.
Specifically, Justice Akinlade had earlier on 17th March 2016 granted an interim order of injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, agents or privies from demolishing or removing any structure whatsoever be they temporary or permanent on the claimants premises located at plots 15, 16, 17 and 18 located at 188 Ikate, Lekki, Lagos.
But Chukwueke and other claimants in the suit: Chinelo Chukwueke, Mrs. Martha Chukwueke, Germaine Logistics Limited & Germaine Auto Centre Limited, in a Motion on Notice filed on their behalf by Moyo Onigbanjo SAN, before the appellate court alleged that Pastor Adefarasin and his church breached the lower court’s order.
The claimants averred in an affidavit attached to the motion that after the order of the lower court, the defendants filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection praying the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
That after Justice Akinlade heard arguments for and against the preliminary objection, the court dismissed it on February 15, 2017.
That dissatisfied with the dismissal of their Notice of Preliminary Objection, Pastor Adefarasin and his church appealed the ruling and transmitted the Record of Appeal to the Court of Appeal.
That the lower Court on realizing that the record of appeal had been transmitted declined further jurisdiction to hear the matter pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.
But the claimants alleged that, while the appeal was still pending, the defendants in disobedience to the order made by the High Court applied to the Lagos State Government and was granted Demolition Permit to demolish the structures on the disputed land.
They further claimed that the defendants did not disclose to the relevant department of the Lagos State Government that there was a pending Suit in respect of the land and that the court had ordered all the parties, including the State, to maintain status quo as at March 18, 2016.
The claimants also stated that on July 7, 2017, the defendants together with armed policemen, soldiers and bulldozers, stormed the subject matter of this suit and commenced demolition of the structures on the property in disobedience of the Order of Court.
They are therefore asking the Appeal court for an order restraining Pastor Adefarasin and his church from demolishing, constructing and or redeveloping the disputed land in any manner whatsoever pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the appellants.
They are also praying the appellate court for an order directing Pastor Adefarasin and his church to reinstate/ restore premises to the state it was on April 7, 2016 when the lower court ordered that status quo as at March 18, 2016 be maintained by the parties.
The claimants are also seeking an order for committal of Pastor Adefarasin and his church for the breach of the lower court’s order.
In the motion on notice before the high court, the claimants alleged that Pastor Adefarasin and his church sometimes in January 2016 repeatedly trespassed on their premises.
They also averred that when their lawyer wrote to him over this illegal action, the first and second defendant claimed that they acquired ownership and possession of the property by virtue of a Deed of Assignment registered as No. 98 in volume 2513, executed in their favour by Diamond Bank Plc.
The claimants also alleged that investigation revealed that the purported acquisition of the property was fraudulent.
According to them a forged Deed of third Party Legal Mortgage between Diamond Bank Plc and the 4th and 5th claimants was purportedly executed on March 5, 2012 mortgaging the property in favour of the bank.
The claimants also alleged that the deed was not executed by the directors or any authorised signatory of the 4th and 5th claimants.
They are therefore seeking the sum of N800 million as damages for the trespass.
The claimants are also asking the court for a declaration that the Deed of Assignment between Diamond bank and the Incorporated Trustees of the Rock Foundation be declared null, void and of no effect whatsoever.
The claimants are praying the court for an order directing the Lagos State Government and the Registrar of Titles, Lagos State Land Registry to revoke the Deed of third Party Legal Mortgage between Diamond bank and the Incorporated Trustees of the Rock Foundation.”