A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, fixed April 7 and 8, for hearing of suit against the Reverend Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa led-committee of Celestia Church of Christ.
Justice Ayokunle Faji, who presided over the court, fixed the date upon an agreement reached by lawyers representing parties in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/389/18, filed by Reverend Josiah Kayode Owodunni against Reverend Oshoffa and five others.
Other respondents in the suit are: Samson Olatunde Banjo, Pius Olanrewaju, John Omotosho, Professor Bola Akinterinwa and Kayode Okaisabor.
Also joined as seventh respondent in the suit is the Church’s Registered Trustees, Nigeria Diocese.
At the hearing of the suit today, the plaintiff, Reverend Owodunni was represented by his lawyer, Martins M. Nnebedum, while Reverend Oshoffa, Banjo, Olanrewaju, Omotosho, Okaisabor and the Church trustees were represented by Modupe O. Odugunwa, Opara David and Akinwole Okenile.
The plaintiff, Reverend Owodunni, in his statement of claims is asking the Court to restrain Reverend Oshoffa, from parading himself as the Pastor of the church worldwide.
He also asked the court for an order setting aside the purported appointment of Olanrewaju, Omotosho, Akinterinwa and Okaisabor as members of the Church’s Board Trustees. And to also set aside all official act(s) undertaken and performed by them or anyone of them in the name of member of the Church’s Board of Trustees from December 24, 2015 onward.
The plaintiff also asked the court for an order to set aside the purported appointment of third and forth defendants as treasurer and secretary of the Church’s board of Trustees.
Reverend Owodunni also asked the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the third, fourth, fifth and sixth defendants, either by themselves, privies servants and any other persons whoever connected or related to them, from performing the or continuing the performance of the functions of the Board of Trustees of the Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese), as enshrined in section 155 of the 1980 Constitution of the church.
He also asked for order of perpetual injunction restraining all the defendants
either by themselves, privies servants and any other persons whoever connected or related from operating the two bank accounts belonging to the Church, account number 0009148230 and 0811030001106 of CCC International Headquarters Harvest and Pastoral account, respectively.
The Plaintiff also want the court to Declare that the only extant Constitution of the Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese (”the Church”) is the Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese Constitution 1980 promulgated on March 29,1980 (”the 1980 Constitution”). And that, by the provision of Section 184 of the said 1980 Constitution of the Church, it is only the Pastor by himself or on the recommendation of the Pastor-in-Council that may revoke, alter or add to any of the provisions of the Celestial Church of Christ, Nigeria Diocese Constitution 1980.
Also, a Declaration that, by the provisions of Sections 107, 108 and 109 of the 1980 Constitution of the Church, the’ Celestial Church of Christ worldwide at any given time shall have one head which shall be known as ”Pastor” and who shall be the ultimate Spiritual Head of the one and indivisible Celestial Church of Christ worldwide. And a declaration that, by the provision of Section 111 (i) of the 1980 Constitution of the Church, only the incumbent Pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ worldwide can name and proclaim his successor.
He also sought a declaration of the court that, having not been appointed in accordance with Section 111 (i) of the 1980 Constitution of the Church, Reverend has no rights whatsoever to parade himself as the Pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ worldwide.
However, the respondents in their notice of preliminary objections urged the court to dismiss Reverend Owodunni’s suit for been abuse of court processes and court lack jurisdiction to entertain.
The respondents stated that Owodunni’s case is an abuse of judicial process being same subject with Suit number HCL/7/2006 between Registered Trustees of Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese) v. Mr Godwin Bolanle Shonekan decided at Ogun State High Court on the 26th March, 2015 and which is presently an appeal at the Court of Appeal, lbadan Division as Appeal No. CA/lB/227/2016.
It also States that appointment of the Reverend Oshoffa, as the sole Board of Trustee Member of the 7th Defendant is res judicata having been ordered by the Federal High Court in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/277/2005 between Corporate Affairs Commission v. Registered Trustees of Celestial Church of Christ in 2 Judgment delivered on 20‘” December, 2005 which Judgment was confirmed/affirmed by the Court of Appeal in Appeal No. CA/A/107/4006 and given effect to by the Corporate Affairs Commission who reg’stered 1″ Defendant as the sole Board of Trustee Member on January 6, 2011.
The respondents also stated that Rev. Oshoffa who doubles as the Pastor of Celestial Church of Christ, Worldwide upon the approval and registration of amendment of Section 111 of the Constitution of Celestial Church of Christ by the Corporate Affairs Commission as far back as December 22, 2000, appointed additional Trustees who are the third to sixth defendants on September 23, 2011, Consequently, this suit had long been statute barred by virtue of the Provisions of the Public Officers Protection Act.
The respondents further stated that subject to the amendment to the Section 111 of the Constitution of Celestial Christ resulting in the Rev. Oshoffa’s appointment as the as Pastor in this suit is already statute barred for about 18 years while the subject of the appointment of Trustees in this suit is already statute barred for about seven years before the commencement of this suit. Adding that the Plaintiff was never at any time a member of Board of Trustees of the Church and therefore he has no special interest or locus to institute the action. And that the Reliefs being claimed equally confer no benefit on the Plaintiff.
The respondent further stated that the subjects of this suit had been decided to finality on many occasions by this Honourable Court for example Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1403/2011 between Evang. Lagun Adesanya v. Rev. Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa and 7 Ors, Suit No. FHC/L/CS/998/2015 between Oladele Ojogbede & Anor v. Corporate Affairs Commission & 60rs, Suit No. LD/924GCMW/2015 between Rev. Josiah Kayode Owodunni v. Samson Olatunde Banjo 8. 5 On, Suit No. HCL/7/2006 between the Registered Trustees of Celestial church of Christ v. Mr Godwin Bolanle Shonekan & Another and Appeal No. CA/IB/227/2016 between Rev. Emmanuel Mobiyina Oshoffa v. Mr Godwin Bolanle Shonekan & Anor which made the instant suit a complete abuse of judicial process. While adding that the seventh defendant is not a juristlc personality as presently constituted in
The respondents also sought for order dismissing and/or striking out the suit in its entirety. Alternatively to make an order adjourning the suit sine die pending the final determination of the Appeal No. CA/lB/227/201’6. between the Registered Trustees of Celestial Church of Christ (Nigeria Diocese) v. Mr Godwin Bolanle Shonekan pending at the Court of Appeal, Ibadan Division, Oyo State.