3rd August, 2010
A Lagos lawyer, Justin A. Audu, has petitioned Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, to use his good offices to bring to book those behind the demolition of a church, Hand of God Ministries, situated at 10, Okanlawon Ajayi Street, off Masha Road, Surulere, Lagos State.
The demolition, according to the lawyer, was carried out on 14 July, 2010, when some members of Dawodu family, who sold the land where the church was erected, allegedly led about 300 thugs, armed with dangerous weapons and four policemen whose identities and formation are unknown, to invade and demolish the church.
Audu also alleged that N2 million, the money realised from a week-long crusade organised by the church and a Zenith Bank cheque of N500,000 donated by a brethren, were stolen by the thugs that demolished the church.
The lawyer also alleged that there had been several attempts on the life of his client, Pastor (Mrs.) Caroline Osagie, the General Overseer of the church, by two members of the family.
Prior to the demolition, the lawyer stated that several attempts had been made on the church, which tenancy expires on 30 November, 2011, but such moves were stalled by policemen from Aguda Police Station.
Reacting to the allegation, two members of the late Fagbemi Dawodu family, the owner of the property in question, Mama K. Dawodu and Sisimi Gbemi Dawodu, denied hiring thugs to demolish the church.
According to them, the exercise was carried out by the Lagos State Physical Planning Development Authority (LASPPDA), after series of petitions to the agency by the neighbours, over the noise emanating from the church.
They also debunked the allegation that over 300 thugs were employed to carry out the exercise, stating that it was a member of the family who never consulted other members, that leased out the land to Pastor Carolineâ€™s church and another one called New Covenant Peoplesâ€™ Assembly.
They also stated that before the two churches were demolished, the agency had warned them not to erect anything on the land as such would constitute a nuisance and they were served before the demolition.
They stated further that the two pastors have dragged them before the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, Lagos.
When P.M.NEWS visited the agencyâ€™s office at Ikeja GRA for comment on the demolition, it was gathered that its officials were away for the commissioning of a new office complex.