A Pentecostal group, the Praise Ever Ministry and its pastor, Pastor Evelyn Calistus has instituted a court case against the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), its General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and the RCCG Heavens Gate Area Headquarter, located at Fagbile Estate in Ijegun area of Lagos.
The plaintiff who spoke with our reporter said she was suing for injunction to compel Adeboye and his church to vacate the land on which her church is built and to stop further disruption of her church activities by the defendant, in addition to suing for N200million damages, allegedly, for sundry cases of harassment and aggression, attempted forceful eviction, humiliation, torture and losses, arising from the said landed property dispute.
The case filed on 21/08/2014 in Suit No. ID/6384/2014, and which is been handled by the Festus Keyamu Chambers, is expected to come up for hearing soon. The Praise Ever Ministry in July this year had alerted the public to the land dispute during a press briefing it organized at the church premises, where she sought the intervention of Pastor Adeboye in the matter.
Pastor Calistus claimed that the RCCG broke all religious ethics and protocol by engaging in the purchase of a landed property upon which a church was already hoisted without bothering to know the status of the landed property in question, and in which Praise Ever Ministry is the legal title occupant; based on valid receipted tenancy payment.
The court case is believed to have generated some disquiet at the Redeems Headquarters in Ebutte Metta, Lagos and its Sagamu Camp along Ibadan Expressway, as sources claimed that the Legal Department of the RCCG attempted to evade service of the court notice.
In a telephone interview with Pastor Calistus, she said her church decided to approach the court for protection and arbiter after several failed attempts to get the leadership of the RCCG to listen to her complaints and for a peaceful resolution of the matter.
“Before now I thought that things should be different in the House of God. Regrettably, the RCCG have come up with funny definitions about one God they call their own, and another God they call the God of poor people. They say since my church is small, it is not God that called me to the ministry. They try to exhibit their material wealth as evidence that God deals only with prosperity
“We made many sacrifices and efforts to try to see Pastor Adeboye. We visited the church headquarter at Ebutte Metta, visited the Sagamu Camp and spent four days there, no way. We wrote to him though his email address, he refused to reply. Yet, every other day, his followers and church members subject us to all manners of harassments, assaults and aggression, the sort you find in highly worldly places. At the end of the day, we decided to go to court”, she explained.
Giving graphic details of the associated issues she said, “The RCCG Heavens Gate Headquarter has erected their canopy in all the available space such that my own church is completely obscured. Even at that, they threaten and often physically assault our church members from passing the perimeter link to access our church. We have lost almost all our members. Only very few of my members are left. I still see, visit and talk with them. They say they will return to church only when they feel safe, that it is either I move the church elsewhere or the RCCG vacate the place.
“Once, the police detained two of their pastors including the presiding parish pastor, pastor Gbenga after I sent a petition to the Lagos Police Commissioner over their harassments. I find it difficult to believe, it is a satanic warfare cloth in glorious name tag. They poisoned the well that serves as source of water to me and the church. One day they attacked us in my living quarters, beat my husband and daughter up, entered into our kitchen and threw away our food items including pot of soup that was on the fire”.
Before the court action, Pastor Calistus explained that even though she realized that RCCG had taken an ungodly path, she was minded to find a mutually beneficial landing ground for both sides just to encourage brotherly love, but noted “funny enough, every effort we take to embrace peace, the Redeem people brazenly undermine and carry on like wild out caste. They are always destructive and full of hatred and are money minded in their conversations and mannerism. For them, prosperity is holiness and salvation. It is strange how they play god”, she said.