Police arrest pastor,7 others for demolishing structure for church building in Osun


Crisis is currently brewing in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, over alleged demolition of an uncompleted building to pave way for the construction of a church.
As crisis over the parcel of land rages, the police arrested the Head Pastor of The Apostolic Church, Temidire Estate, Osogbo, simply identified as Pastor Obanewo; its Presiding Elder, Faloye Festus Ayoku and six others in connection with the matter.
Our correspondent gathered that the suspects, including one Alhaji Muritala Adewale, who allegedly sold the land to the church, are currently being quizzed by the police at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Osogbo.
Among the five other suspects arrested on Tuesday was a land agent, Muritala Adewale, who was alleged to have allotted the piece of land to the church without the approval of the owner.
Our correspondent learnt that four other arrested suspects were labourers allegedly hired to pull down the building before the church erected its own structure on the disputed land.
A pastor and other members of the church were also said to have fled their temporary place of worship on learning that the head pastor, Elder Ayoku and others had been apprehended by the police.
But members of the church have insisted that the land belonged to them, saying that the church bought it and vowed that the church would not relinquish the ownership of the land.
Our correspondent gathered that one Dr. Charles Oluokun, who is based in United States of America, had claimed ownership of the land.
Oluokun was said to have detailed his two siblings in Nigeria to monitor the land but later discovered that the property had been invaded by the church.
The two brothers of the said land owner, Adebowale Oluokun and Adeniji Adekunle, through their lawyer, Benjamin Akindoyin, on July 8, 2016, wrote the Osun State Commissioner of Police, alleging demolition of a building erected on the land by their brother before he traveled to the US.
The letter written to the police commissioner, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent reads in part, “Our client were surprised when they discovered the demolition by the alleged church members and from their preliminary investigation, they told our client that they thought their elder brother was no more having interest in the said land and they (the Apostolic Church), being the church of God, wants to use the land and they decided to demolish the entire building.”
It was also learnt that the office of the Area Commander of the Nigeria Police, Osogbo, had on the 7th of March, 2016, written the office of the Coordinating Director, Bureau of Land, to confirm the authenticity of the Certificate of Occupancy of the land as tendered by Oluokun.
However, in its reply, the Bureau of Land, Office of the Governor of Osun State, was said to have confirmed the authenticity of the C of O.
The confirmation was contained in a letter sighted by our correspondent and signed by one I. T. Oyeyemi for the Bureau of Land.
The letter reads: “I am directed to refer to your letter Ref. No. AR: 3100/OSS/ OSGA/VOL.4/40 dated 7th March, 2016 and to inform you that the Certificate of Statutory Right of Occupancy dated 31st July, 1989 and registered as No.36 page 36 Volume 2905 in the Register of Deeds has been confirmed to be authentic and free from encumbrances.”