A Lagos-based lawyer and son of the late Michael Ashikodi Agbamuche (SAN), former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Michael Agbamuche has accused Our Saviour Anglican Church, Surulere of violating the Lagos State land grabbing law by occupying his bequeathed property illegally without offering any compensation.
The lawyer, in a letter dated September 22 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 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.
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 the vendor, 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. He added that those facts were made known to Bishop Johnson in various chats and exchange of messages and in meetings with the church officials in the year 2022, but they showed no desire to take any positive steps.
Insisting that there is no record of sale from his late mother to the church, he reiterated that there was no consideration for the property. He stated that he had challenged the church to produce any record or receipt from his mother evidencing payment, but up till date, no response to that request.
“I also pointed out that there was no deed of assignment or conveyance prepared or executed and up till now, no such document has been produced by the church, rather the Bishop decided not to communicate with me anymore.
“The Diocese must compensate me at its current market value/price before trying to acquire it as a church premises,” he said, adding that it is inadvisable to remain in the property without title as it may be caught up by statute of limitations that govern such transactions,” he said.
He prayed the church to fully compensate him so it can regularise its presence in the property with his cooperation, warning that he may be forced to activate eviction processes.
Responding to the letter, the church’s general secretary simply said: “Please report this at the Bishop’s office in Lagos.” Also, the Registrar of the Lagos Mainland Diocese sent a WhatsApp message to the lawyer saying: “I have read all your correspondences and they are all appreciated. You see, as long as you continue to erroneously hold the position you are holding, it is a challenge to engage with you.
“We are an orthodox church that is well rooted in doctrines and faith in our God. Don’t wish that away. On the other hand, our Bishop is not a roadside mechanic. He is, and rightly too, a very humble servant of the Most High and deserves every respect. God bless you sir.”
When contacted by The Guardian, Bishop Johnson said only the church’s legal officer can react to the allegation, but refused to supply either the name or contact of the legal officer. He asked The Guardian to get his legal officers contact from the complainant.