Lawyer accuses church of land grabbing, conversion of residential apartment to worship centre

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Michael Agbamuche, a Lagos based lawyer and the son of former Attorney General of the Federation, the late Chief Michael Agbamuche, has accused Our Saviour Anglican Church, Surulere of violating the land grabbing laws of Lagos state.

He alleged that the church of occupying his bequeathed property illegally without offering any consideration for it.

The lawyer, who has already served eviction notice to the church in line with the Lagos State Public Notice of 29 January 2024 regarding illegal conversion of residential areas to business and worship centres, warned that their continuous stay in the building – 77 Adebola Street, Surulere in Lagos would be at their own risk. 

In the letter dated February 1, 2024, he requested the church to provide the names and address of their solicitor to whom court processes would be served. But this was ignored.

Prior to this, the lawyer, in a letter dated September 22, 2023 to the Primate and Metropolitan of the Church in Abuja, Bishop Henry Ndukuba, explained that the church is illegally occupying his late mother’s property without any consideration and documentation, and that the Lagos Diocese has failed every form of conciliation move to legalise its stay in the property.

He said: “I am forced to bring this matter to your attention having exhausted all efforts using conciliation to persuade my lord, the Bishop of Lagos mainland to intervene and resolve the issues without rancour or litigation.

 “Regrettably, I not only failed to persuade him, but he proceeded to block my line and made himself incommunicado which meant that I had no choice than to reach out to you as his supreme head rather than turning to the police or litigation.

  “I refer to the police because there is a taint of near criminality and evidence of misfeasance, culpable negligence and incompetence on the part of the lawyers retained by the diocese at all material times underlying the circumstances surrounding this property owned by my late mother in her lifetime.

  “My late mother after 30 years of service for the Lagos state government from the 1950’s when she returned from her studies abroad, joined the Lagos medical services in the 60’s and was opportune to take advantage of the relative ease of acquiring property in Nigeria, especially in Lagos those happy days.

  “She, therefore, secured the mortgage that enabled her to acquire the property known as 77 Adebola Street, Surulere, using only her income as a civil servant and after years of such service she fully paid off the mortgage and decided to retire and return to her hometown in Akwa Ibom state.”

According to Agbamuche, she decided to put the property up for sale, found an estate surveyor to market the property and set a reasonable price consistent with the value at prevailing market rate at that time.

This registered surveyor, he said, was able to get several interested buyers including the Church.

  “Whilst I was not party to the discussions between herself and the church officials, I was duly briefed by my late mother and she handed over to me her only copy of the deed of mortgage before she left Lagos to Eket, Akwa Ibom.

 “It was at that period I got a hint of misfeasance in the entire way she was handled by both the church and the so-called surveyor as it turned out that she was never actually paid by the church directly,” he explained.

  He stated that the church did not pay the owner of the property till date, an indication that the transaction was invalid.

  Agbamuche said despite drawing the attention of the Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Akinpelu Johnson to these facts, he has refused to do anything about it and rather than cause inquiry to be made as to why the church will acquire property and not pay, he has rebuffed him.

He maintained that no conveyance or deed of assignment was prepared and executed nor was any such document sent to the land registry for perfection to legalise the transfer of title, while the church has been there for 10 years now.

The lawyer noted that since his mother has passed on, it is no longer possible to execute any such document.

 Insisting that there is no record of sale from his late mother to the church, he challenged the church to produce any record or receipt from his mother evidencing payment. NewsArcade learnt that the church’s response to a letter from the lawyer is that the building is Gods property.

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