The high-profile lawyers recruited by the founder of the Living Faith Christian Church International, Bishop David Oyedepo, has amended the defence of the multibillionaire pastor stating that the Living Faith Church is not a juristic person that can sue or be sued.
A notice of preliminary objection filed earlier by Olugbenga Adegboye and F.B Agbanwu, the church’s senior legal officer and solicitor respectively, had asked the High Court of Ogun State to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction since both the pastor and his church cannot sue or be sued.
On taking over the legal tussle from the church’s solicitors, Dele Adesina, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, while still maintaining that the case is “incompetent”, left out the part that Bishop Oyedepo cannot sue or be sued in his amended counter affidavit.
Unlike the nine-page counter affidavit and preliminary objection filed by Bishop Oyedepo’s previous lawyers, the new lawyers’ 32-page counter affidavit sent a brusquely worded message to Robert Igbinedion, the lawyer who dragged the Living Faith’s General Overseer to court .
“This application is frivolous, vexatious, gold digging and we urge the honourable court to strike out the application,” stated the counter affidavit deposed by Olakunle Olatunji of Dele Adesina and Co. Legal Practitioners.
Mr. Olatunji further stated that the suit by Mr. Igbinedion is an attempt to blackmail and defame Bishop Oyedepo and his church.
“The 2nd respondent (the church) is a religious congregation where all they do is to worship and glorify God Almighty and not to indulge in any assault, oppressive and discrimination of any person,” said Mr. Olatunji.
He added that the cause of action as disclosed by Mr. Igbinedion does not fall within the ambit of the Nigerian constitution or the African Charter on Human Rights.
“From the suit as framed by the applicant, it is clear that he gave the name, quote and unquote ‘Miss Justice’ to whosoever on behalf of whom this action is brought.
“Flowing from above, it is our submission that there is nothing to show the existence of ‘Miss Justice’….” said Mr. Olatunji.
“We humbly submit that ‘Miss Justice’ is a fictitious person, not capable of being represented in court. For the applicant to establish that he is suing on behalf of another person, that person must be determinable and identifiable,” he added.
In his further affidavit to support his motion, Mr. Igbinedion maintained that despite claims to the contrary by the respondents’ lawyers, he is a human rights activist “with vast experience in the field.”
Mr. Igbinedion also stated that Bishop Oyedepo’s citing of the biblical verse “suffer not the witch to live” during the church service is a threat to the life on the young lady (Miss Justice) capable of inciting her murder by his numerous followers who obey his command.
“We coined the name ‘Miss Justice’ and withheld her name as the young Nigerian girl cannot afford to have her name on the court process because of her age, sex and safety in a public trial,” Mr. Igbinedion said.
On the claims by the respondent that ‘Miss Justice’ is not a living person, Mr. Igbinedion stated that there is “as well nothing to show that Bishop Oyedepo is still alive.”
“We are to take his (Bishop Oyedepo) submissions and position through his legal representative and so is the case of the poor Nigerian girl (Miss Justice).”
Parties in the suit are expected to adopt their motion on June 13th.