Lagos estate residents prevent church from holding service

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Members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Agape Assembly, on Sunday were thrown into confusion after the executive of the M.K.O. Abiola Gardens Estate in the Alausa area of Ikeja, Lagos State, allegedly used chains and padlocks to lock the gate and the main entrance to the church to prevent members from gaining entry.

Members of the executive were said to have deposited truck loads of sand and granite in strategic locations on the premises of the church’s land to prevent vehicles from gaining entry.

It was gathered that the development followed efforts by the executive to get the church to relocate from the estate hall.

Members of the church were also seen conducting the service in the compound after efforts to enter the hall proved abortive.

The church’s administrator, Ayo Abbey, said two women were on the premises when tipper lorries started depositing sand and granite to block the entrance and later used chains and padlocks to lock the church when everybody had left.

The pastor in charge of the church, Olusesan Oyebode, said the estate’s executive acted in that manner to frustrate the activities of the church, adding that the police were contacted to intervene.

he went further by saying the RCCG has been occupying the estate hall as a tenant since the inception of the estate in 1999, but the executive was desperate to get the church out of that location, about two years ago, we wrote to the governor that just as the Muslims had a place of worship in the estate, the Christian community required a place of worship.

The clergyman also revealed that the governor has referred the petition to the Nigeria Interreligious Council, an arm of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Lagos State, and after a series of meetings, the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation allocated a plot of land in another location in the estate to the church through the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Despite the LSDPC allocating a plot of land to the church, Oyebode alleged that the estate executive frustrated the efforts to take possession of the land.

He said when the land was allocated for N10.5m, they could not pay because the estate executive members used their influence to prevent us from taking possession, hence the requestb from the executive to give a maximum of two years to put a new structure on the land.

But the reverse was the case as the executives appropriated the land to themselves and wants the church to leave the estate hall by refusing to collect the rent from the church.

Pastor Oyebode wants the government to compel the executives to release the land, because it was applied for and the LSDPC allocated the land to the Christian community in the estate

When contacted, the President, M.K.O. Abiola Gardens Estate, Adetokunbo Shittu, said, “I don’t have anything to say about that, maybe you will come and see the executive or the Board of Trustees. I don’t have anything to say for now.”