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Regd. Trustees, C & S Mvt. v. Ijaodola

REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF CHERUBIM & SERAPHIM CHURCH MOVEMENT

SENIOR APOSTLE H. O. KAJI-HAUSA

SENIOR APOSTLE I. B. ABODUNRIN

V

MOST SENIOR APOSTLE J. O. IJAODOLA & 9 OTHERS

COURT OF APPEAL

( ILORIN DIVISION )

TIJJANI ABDULLAHI JCA ( Presided )

HELEN MORONKEJI OGUNWUMIJU JCA

IGNATIUS IGWE AGUBE JCA ( Read the Lead Judgment )

CA/IL/31/2003

TUESDAY, 8TH MAY, 2007

APPEAL - Findings of fact by trial court - Attitude of appeal court to

COURT - Landed properties of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement, Esa-Oyan branch, Offa in the instant case - Issue of ownership and trusteeship of - Trial court’s decision on Perversity of

JURISDICTION - Locus standi and jurisdiction - Issues of - Duty on trial court to first consider before delving into other issues raised before it

LAND LAW - Landed properties of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement, Esa-Oyan branch, Offa in the instant case - Issue of ownership and trusteeship of - Trial court’s decision on Perversity of

LOCUS STANDI - Jurisdiction and locus standi - Issues of - Duty on trial court to first consider before delving into other issues raised before it

LOCUS STANDI - Suit No. KWS/OF/13/95 - Whether the trial court in the instant case ought to have dismissed same for want of locus standi by the respondents as they had opted out of the authentic Cherubim and Seraphim Movement and indeed the Esa-Oyan branch at Offa before instituting same - Whether suit No. KWS/ OF/14/95 ought to have been dismissed for the said respondents’ secessionist venture

NOTABLE PRONOUNCEMENT on reasons for the emergence of some christian religious organisations

STATUTE - Statutory provisions - Where spells out a duty and the procedure therefor - Need to strictly adhere thereto

TRUSTEESHIP - Cherubim and Seraphim Church Ifesowapo, EsaOyan, Offa in the instant case - After same had opted out of the parent body, Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement -

Whether still entitled to retain the properties of the said parent body

TRUSTEESHIP - Establishment of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement, Esa-Oyan, Offa by the respondents in the instant case - Whether amounts to a change of name or a secessionist venture bringing her out of the parent body, Cherubim and Seraphim Movement in Nigeria and Overseas

Issues:

1.              Whether the executive decision of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement, Esa-Oyan in exhibit P21 is a change in name only and whether such a decision is binding on the congregation who never mandated it before it was taken nor ratified it after it was taken.

2.              Whether the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Ifesowapo is a branch of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement as stated in the trial court’s judgment.

3.              Whether the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Ifesowapo having opted out of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church

Movement is entitled to retain the properties of Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement.

4.              What is the proper implication of trusteeship under Cap. 8 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (1958) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 to the first appellant vis-a-vis the respondents.

5.              Whether the decision of the trial court is not perverse.

Facts:

The appellants and respondents/cross-appellants herein were members of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement with headquarters in Kaduna. They belonged to the branch of the church located at Esa-Oyan in Offa, Kwara State which branch acquired a plot of land from the Oloffa of Offa in 1975 and the land was subsequently granted certificate of occupancy in the name of the movement on the 15th of June, 1984 . By virtue of the certificate of incorporation which was issued to the organisation, the movement, on the 21st day of October, 1984 the said land and the certificate of occupancy No. 4027 became vested in the registered trustees of the movement of the parent body in accordance with the movement’s constitutional provisions.

The 1st plaintiff/respondent/cross-appellant joined the Esa-Oyan Church Society of Cherubim and Seraphim in 1959 and in 1966, was appointed the movement’s first legal adviser, a position he held until some disagreements ensued between him and the movement’s spiritual leader/ Baba Aladura, Pastor J. I. Agboola, the 1st defendant in the suits instituted by the respondents/cross-appellants, particularly on matters of the policy and succession of the late leader of Esa-Oyan branch of the movement.

On the 12th of June, 1995, the rift between 1st respondent and the

1 st defendant degenerated to the expulsion of the 1st respondent from the Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement for acts of insubordination, incitement and changing the name of Cherubim and Seraphim Church Movement, Esa-Oyan to Cherubim and Seraphim Church Esa-Oyan Ifesowapo No. 1 Offa.

Consequent upon the service of the expulsion letter on him, the 1st respondent and his supporters whom he termed executive committee members of the movement in Esa-Oyan wrote to the 1st defendant, intimating him of their secession from the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Conference and that they had formed what they termed Cherubim and Seraphim Church Ifesowapo (love binds us together).

The tussle over the issue of expulsion, secession and the ownership of the properties of Cherubim and Seraphim Church Esa-Oyan branch eventually led the parties in this appeal and cross-appeal to filing of suits

Nos. KWS/OF/26/94, KWS/OF/13/95, KWS/OF/14/95 and KWS/OF/16/ 95  by which suits they sought various declaratory, injunctive and monetary reliefs against each other. The trial court upon the application of parties, consolidated the above mentioned suits before proceeding to trial.

At the conclusion of trial, the trial court in its considered judgment struck out suit No. KWS/OF/26/94 upon a notice of discontinuance filed on 15 /11/95 in respect of and on other three suits it gave judgments partly in favour of and partly against each of the parties.

Dissatisfied with the judgments so delivered by the trial court, the appellants who were the plaintiffs in the last suit and defendants in suits Nos. KWS/OF/26/94, 13/95 and 14/95 appealed to the Court of Appeal.

The respondents, on the other hand, cross-appealed and filed their notice of cross-appeal and preliminary objection against the appellants’ appeal.