Two churches – The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Heaven’s Gate parish and Praise Ever Ministry – are at daggers drawn over a piece of land on Fagbile Road, Fagbile Estate, Ijegun area of Lagos State.
It was learnt that every Sunday, there was always drama at the location as both churches simultaneously conducted their Sunday service on the same ground.
PUNCH Metro gathered that despite repeated attempts by residents of the area and other sympathisers to restore harmony between the two houses of God, peace had remained elusive on the landed property.
Leader of the Praise Ever Ministry, Evangelist Evelyn Calistus, told our correspondent that she got the land on a lease since 2007 from the owner, one Mr. Yusuf Tijani.
She said, “We came here in February 2007. We rented the place from Mr. Yusuf Tijani. It was a thick bush then.
“In 2011, we paid another rent due to elapse at the end of 2014. But in December 2012, Tijani came here and told us that he wanted to sell the land, adding that he needed N6.5m for it in two weeks. We told him we could not raise the money and that we needed a little time.
“My family had accommodation problem, and so we moved into the church’s office in January 2013.”
The evangelist explained that trouble started in April, 2013 after Tijani apparently sold the land to the RCCG.
She said the church’s leadership insisted that she moved out of the property despite the fact that her rent was still running. She added that the church did not offer her any compensation.
She said, “On April 28, 2013, we saw a crowd singing under a mango tree near the church’s premises, saying God had given them the land.
“On the following Sunday, the RCCG pastor and Tijani came to the church and announced that the parish had bought the place.”
She alleged that since then, the RCCG parish had made life difficult for her church members, seeking to take possession of the land and ignoring her pleas that her rent had not run out.
She said attempts for a truce through the national leadership of the RCCG had been frustrated by the parish, whose members and pastor insisted on taking over the land immediately.
“In August, 2013, they brought a signboard and put it at the back of my office. Every Sunday they would come to conduct their Sunday service and insisted that we leave.
“Later, they used their canopy to block our church entrance. Anytime their pastor sees our members coming into the church, he would leave the pulpit and challenged them.”
A petition written by the Festus Keyamo Chambers for the praise ministry, to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, alleged that “Evelyn (Calistus)had also been threatened that it is either she leaves the place alive or that they will carry her dead body away.”
The evangelist, however, said she was making moves to see Adeboye, saying such would settle the problem once and for all.
But the RCCG Chief Legal Officer, Pastor Ayodele Oladeji, who spoke for the church, told our correspondent that the issue was being resolved.
He said, “I am aware of the case. What really happened was that the RCCG parish bought the land from the owner. I also learnt that it had been offered to Pastor Evelyn’s church earlier, but they could not raise the money.
“We did not agree with the parish’s plan of ejecting them immediately; we believe they should follow all legal formality before taking over the place. We agreed that both the parish and the RCCG province in the area should see to their relocation.
On the threat to Calistu’s life, he said, “I don’t think they can threaten to kill her. I believe she is afraid. I have met with those people and seen them personally. RCCG does not stand for that.”
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