Nigeria: Court Adjourns Foursquare, Catholic Churches’ Suit to Sept. 26

Nigeria: Court Adjourns Foursquare, Catholic Churches’ Suit to Sept. 26

map_of_nigeria(VANGUARD) A Federal High Court, Lagos on Monday adjourned a suit filed by the Foursquare Gospel Church against the Catholic Pastoral Council of Nigeria for report of settlement.

Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the case to Sept. 26, following a report by the plaintiff’s counsel, Mr Adewale Ademola, that both parties had yet to reach terms of settlement.

The judge, therefore, granted a long adjournment to afford parties adequate time to explore the settlement option.

The plaintiff had filed the suit against the defendant on May 15, 2012, over alleged wrongful ejection from premises.

Joined as defendants are Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, the Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Presidential Implementation Committee on Sale of Federal Government Property.

The plaintiff is challenging the ejection of the church from the premises at the 1004 Housing Estate, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Foursquare, represented by Mr Felix Meduoye, had averred in its statement of claim that the church was granted lawful occupation of the premises in 2003, by the Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing.

Meduoye said that the premises was situated within a zone specifically reserved for religious activities.

According to the plaintiff, the premises in question is the zonal headquarters of the Foursquare Gospel Church, and the rent paid would expire in 2014.

Meduoye said that on March 20, 2012, the presidential committee on sale of Federal Government property, had in a meeting, offered the premises for bidding, without recourse to the plaintiff.

He said that the Catholic Pastoral Council of Nigeria bid for the purchase of the premises and was granted same without any recourse to the plaintiff as original occupants.

Meduoye further averred that as a result, the Catholic Pastoral Council had encroached into portions of their premises, claiming it as part of its Saint Francis Catholic Church, located in the same premises.

He maintained that the action was unjust, especially as their tenancy would expire in 2014.

The plaintiff, therefore, averred that as an existing church in the premises, they were entitled to a right of first refusal.

The judge had earlier, on April 22, advised both parties to opt for out of court settlement to solve the matter as it was a religious issue. (NAN)

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