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  • Regd. Trustees, Holy Apostolic Church v. Ayeni
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  • 2002-08-12
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Regd. Trustees, Holy Apostolic Church v. Ayeni

1.      THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF THE HOLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH OF NIGERIA

2.      CHIEF ISRAEL B. ARIBISALA

3.      DEACON EZEKIEL OMOLAYO ERUJEJE

4.      PROPHET S. FUNSO ALUKO

5.      SENIOR EVANGELIST M. O. LONGE

6.      APOSTLE OLUWASOLA OLUWATOSIN

7.      MRS. EBUN AYEGBUSI

V

1.      REV. FOLORUNSO AYENI

2.      CHIEF JOHN OLOMINU - BABA IJO

COURT OF APPEAL

( ILORIN DIVISION )

MURITALA AREMU OKUNOLA, JCA ( Presided )

PATRICK IBE AMAIZU, JCA

WALTER S. NKANU ONNOGHEN, JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/IL/32/2001

MONDAY, 25TH MARCH, 2001

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Freedom of worship - Whether breached by order of interlocutory injunction restraining feuding church members from use of church building and property

COURT - Preservation of property in dispute - Duty of trial court thereof

FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS - Freedom of worship - Whether breached by preservation order of interlocutory injunction barring feuding church members from using the church building and property - Need for peaceable conduct in a place of religious worship

INJUNCTION - Interlocutory injunction - Order to lock up a church building

-  When necessary as a consequential order

INJUNCTION - Interlocutory injunction - Principles governing grant of Discretionary power of trial court to consider application for

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Interlocutory injunction - When order to lock up a church building is a necessary consequential order

JUDGMENT AND ORDERS - Order of interlocutory injunction barring feuding church members from the use of a church building - Whether in breach of freedom of worship - Need for peaceable conduct in a place of worship

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Consequential order - When order to lock up a church building is a necessary consequential order

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Injunction - Interlocutory injunction Principles governing grant of - Trial court’s discretion to grant

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Order of interlocutory injunction barring feuding church members from the use of a church building - Whether in breach of freedom of worship - Need for peaceable conduct in a place of worship

PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Preservation of property in dispute Duty of trial courts in respect thereof

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Judgment is against the weight of evidence’ -

What is meant by

WORDS AND PHRASES - ‘Perverse decision’ - Meaning of

Issues:

1.            Whether the order of interlocutory injunction made by the trial High Court was perverse, against the weight of evidence and prejudicial to the appellants.

2.            Whether the order to lock up the church building thereby preventing the parties from using same pending the determination of the suit is an infraction of the appellants’ fundamental right of religious worship guaranteed under the Constitution.

3.            Whether the preservation order of injunction made by the trial court is consistent with the claims of the plaintiffs/respondents.

Facts:

The plaintiffs/respondents commenced this action against the defendants/appellants claiming a declaration that the synod meeting of the 1 st appellant was illegal, annulment of the appointments made thereat; an order that the Will of the late founder of the church is not binding on the church; an order that the defendants should not disturb plaintiffs and other officiating members in the headquarters branch of the church; an order on the 7th defendant/appellant to hand over church property with her to the superintendent of the church; and, an order restraining defendants/appellants from harassing plaintiffs/respondents and other members of plaintiffs/ respondents’ faction.

After the exchange of pleadings, the plaintiffs brought an application for interlocutory injunction restraining both parties/factions from worshipping in the headquarters branch of the church and a close down of the said church.

The application was heard and granted. Dissatisfied, the defendants/ appellants filed this appeal.