The tussle between the executive members of MKO-Abiola Estate residents association and the Agape Area Headquarters of the Redeemed Church escalated on Wednesday morning as the roof of the estate’s hall which the church was occupying was removed on orders of the president of the estate residents’ association, Adetokunbo Shittu.
Residents of the Estate and the Redeemed Church have been at loggerheads over the church’s refusal to vacate the estate hall.
The church has been using the hall since 1999 when the estate was built. The estate executives have, however, issued the church three notices to quit since 2017, which was not complied with.
In 2018, the estate executives took the church to an Ebute Metta magistrate court but later withdrew the case due to defective filing.
On January 5, members of the estate’s residents’ association locked the out members of the church thus denying them access to the hall. But some members of the church broke the locks and reported the incident to the police.
But on Wednesday the conflict between the parties worsen after the roof of the estate hall was taken off on the orders of Mrs Shittu. The estate’s executives also ordered for loads of sand and gravel to be deposited at the entrance of the hall.
Mrs Shittu told PREMIUM TIMES that the decision was taken in the best interest of the community and its residents.
“The church has refused to vacate the hall and the estate is in need of the hall, so, we decided to start work on the hall.”
“Given the brazen manner with which the church broke into the hall when it was locked up by the executives without reporting to them,” an executive member of the estate’s residents association who declined to give her name said.
A fracas broke out between the labourers and some of the estate residents who are members of the church, which led to the intervention of police officers from the Alausa Police Division.
The labourers reportedly attacked two members of the church who were filming the removal of the roof with their mobile phones.
When PREMIUM TIMES got the scene around 10:45 a.m., some agitated youth and residents of the estate were gathered at the front of the estate hall.
Several officers from the Alausa Police Division were also on ground to prevent further confrontations between the angry crowd and the labourers.
“When I got here, I saw that they were removing the roofing sheet. In surprise, I attempted to record so that I can send to the church group before they started throwing pebbles and some of them attacked us,” one of the victims said.
The middle-aged woman who is also a minister at the Redeemed Church told PREMIUM TIMES that a young man, who was also beaten, came around to help her with the recording because she was not tall enough to film the demolition properly.
“The executives were on their seats watching what was happening,” she added.
Sesan Oyebode, the pastor of the Redeemed church, said the removal of the roof was ordered by Mrs Shittu.
“If you must leave a property by force, it must follow due process. The court must give an injunction, they would get a bailiff and police officers to eject you from the place.”
“Before then, they would inform you to remove your things, it is when you refuse that the police can put your things outside, that is the legal way,” Mr Oyebode said, in a telephone conversation.
Mr Oyebode said it is improper for the president of such “a high-profile estate” to order the removal of the roof without following due process.