Christian Association of Nigeria, president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor is battling the Governor Fashola led
Lagos State Government over plans to demolish his N50 million church. Insiders revealed that the amiable clergy is not too happy with the governor. According to our source, he believes plan to demolish his property was politically motivated.
“Papa Ayo believes the demolition plan was informed by the fact that he has soft spot for the President Goodluck Jonathan led PDP government. Thus, it’s a political agenda to frustrate him.”
Consequently, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, instituted a law suit against Lagos state Governor, Babatunde Fashola over the state government’s plan to demolish the Lagos branch of his church, Word of Life Bible Church on Plot 21E, Abdulrahman Okene Close, off Ligali Ayorinde Street ,Victoria Island Annex, Lagos.
Joined as co-respondents in the suit are the Lagos state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), the state’s Attorney-General, Lagos State Ministry of Physical planning and Urban Development, Lagos State Building Control Agency, Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority, and Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation.
The Incorporated Trustees of Word of Life Bible Church, the claimant, is urging the court for an order restraining the defendants, their agents, servants, officers or privies from demolishing or further demolishing, destroying, or forcibly ejecting them. The claimant urged the court that they should not continue to take steps or in any other manner engage in any activity(ies) detrimental or contrary to the rights of the ownership or possession of the claimant in respect of the claimants land located at Plot 21E, Abdulrahman Okene Close, Off Ligali Ayorinde Street Victoria Island, Annex Lagos.
The claimants, in an affidavit filed before the court, averred that after applying for building plan approval from the respondents and it was not forthcoming within the regulated period, the claimants through Pastor Oritsejafor made due enquires, wrote several letters, and also held meetings with the former governor of the state, Senator Bola Tinubu and the present governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola.
Consequently, in March 2013, the claimant received a letter from the defendants directing them to submit certain documents to facilitate the process of the approval of the building plan which was complied with.
However, while the claimant was still awaiting the building plan approval so as to continue with its church building, the claimant suddenly discovered that the defendants had pasted a certain contravention notice dated January 20, 2014, on its fence, alleging absence of development permit, as ground of seeking removal of the building on the land within two days.
The defendants, in their counter-affidavit, alleged that the action of the claimants of not complying with rules and regulations generated the supposed action.
They also alleged that the claimant commenced the erection of the structure on the said property without first obtaining a development permit. It was stated further that though, the claimant had applied for the permit, it did not wait for the approval, rather it continued with the construction of the building.
The defendants further added that the claimant has also not provided all that was required to process its development permit.
At the resumed hearing of the matter counsel to the church, Mr. A. Ndu Nwokocha, asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to respond to the defendants’ counter affidavit served on him at the court.
Thereafter, the presiding judge, Deborah Oluwayemi, after listening to both parties, adjourned the matter to January 13, 2015, for hearing.
Ayodele Joseph Oritsejafor is the founding and Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church, Warri, Southern Nigeria, and is currently the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). In July 2010, Oritsejafor was elected as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the apex body of all Christians in the country. In doing so, he became the first pentecostal leader to hold the position. Oritsejafor was converted through Bishop Benson Idahosa, the first pentecostal archbishop in Nigeria, in 1972, and began preaching almost immediately. On Sunday, November 15, 1987, Pastor Ayo started Word of Life Bible Church.
He is married to Pastor Helen Oritsejafor and the union is blessed with two sons and a daughter.