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The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos has upheld the judgment of a Lagos High Court which ordered Deeper Christian Life Ministry to pay N5 million as damages for trespassing on a parcel of land belonging to the Celestial Church of Christ, CCC.
CCC had through its representative, Joseph Ebhodaghe sued Deeper Life Church over the disputed land measuring approximately 1055.864 squares situated at Mulero area of Agege, Lagos and registered as No- 75 volume 2004T at the Lagos State land registry, Ikeja.
At the lower court, trial judge, Justice Samuel Candide-Johnson, had in his judgment delivered on January 17, 2014 declared the CCC as the rightful owner of the disputed land and awarded N5 million as damages against Deeper Life Church.
The court also granted a perpetual injunction restraining Deeper Life Church, its agents or servants from further trespass on the disputed land.
Dissatisfied with the verdict, Deeper Life Church through its lawyer, Gabriel Akigbe appealed against same and urged the appellate court to set the entire judgment aside on the grounds that the trial judge was biased, having regards to the documentary and oral evidence placed before the court.
But, in a unanimous decision, the appellate court comprising of Justice Chinwe Iyizoba (presiding), Justice Yargata Nimpar and Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo held that the appeal is unmeritous and dismissed same accordingly.
In her lead judgment, Justice Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo resolved all the six issues in contention in favour of the respondent.
Justice Obaseki-Adejumo observed that both parties traced their titles ownership to the Olalabi-Sulu family but held that the title presented by the Celestial Church is superior to that of Deeper Life Church.
The court pointed out that the respondent (CCC) obtained its title in 1973 as against that of Deeper Life Church which was obtained 1998.