The High Court in Ogun State sitting in Ota, Wednesday, fixed July 12 for judgment in the suit involving the founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide and the young lady who was slapped during a church service in 2009.
Robert Igbinedion, a Lagos based lawyer who filed the suit on behalf of the young lady, is seeking the court to award N2billion as ‘general and exemplary damages’ against the flamboyant pastor among other reliefs.
Mr. Oyedepo was named the richest pastor in Nigeria last year by Forbes magazine with an estimated worth of over N20billion.
At the hearing on Wednesday, Dele Adesina, counsel to Bishop Oyedepo, complained to the court that Mr. Igbinedion added new grounds to his further counter affidavit which he served him on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Adesina, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also told the court that they did not have a photograph and the video where the Bishop slapped the young lady.
Mr. Igbinedion had amended his charges by substituting Living Faith Christian Church International, whom he joined earlier as respondents, with the Board of Trustees of Living Faith Church Worldwide also known as Winners Chapel.
He also added that he is a human rights activist.
The judge ruled that the hearing would continue.
Mr. Adesina argued that there was nothing to show that the young lady who was slapped in the video – who had been dubbed ‘Miss Justice’ in the course of the suit – is a living person.
“There is nothing to show in the application that ‘Miss Justice’ is a living and existing person entitled to claim under the provisions of the 1999 Constitution,” Mr. Adesina said.
“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.
On his part, Mr. Igbinedion asked the court to grant him all his reliefs since the respondents, in denying that the young lady was slapped, had failed to help the court arrive at justice.
“The respondents rather chose to lay their defence on all imaginable legal technicalities without attacking or denying the several damaging allegations,” said Mr. Igbinedion.
A mild drama played out in court when the presiding judge asked David Olushola, who was representing Bishop Oyedepo’s church, to leave the court room.
Mr. Olushola, a pastor in the church, dressed in a white, collarless shirt in a black suit, sat at a place reserved for lawyers only.
After he identified himself as a lawyer, the judge insisted that he leave since he was improperly dressed.
Mr. Adesina’s intervention, however, saved the day as he argued that sending Mr. Olushola out of the court would be a subject for news.
Mr. Igbinedion told PREMIUM TIMES after Wednesday’s sitting that he is confident of a favourable ruling on the judgment day.
“I have full confidence in the Nigerian judiciary because if I don’t have, I would stop practicing,” Mr. Igbinedion said.
Efforts to get Mr. Adesina’s response were not successful. Phone calls were not answered and text message was not replied.
“I can do nothing but to wait for judgment,” Mr. Igbinedion added.