I didn’t facilitate any land deal for Christ Embassy. I am aware that Christ Embassy was having some business with Obe Community over two decades ago.
However, when I heard the news I was concerned because I have a property in that vicinity. On the 16th February, 2009, there was an article published in the Nigerian Observer newspaper by the likes of Chief Nehizena and Richard Aimienoho(he was then the youth leader of the community). The paper published an article that I was trying to blackmail the Christ Embassy and make some cheap money by so doing.
I was very disturbed by the publication. So, I quickly put an article together and went to the Benin Palace to report the matter. I also went to the Obe Community and told them to do a rejoinder. They told me that the reason they did their publication was that I mentioned the name of the youth leader who sold the land to me which they said he has no authority to do. That it was actually the community that sold the land to me.
Let me take you back to the history of how I bought the land over twenty years ago.
Obe Community lands was a thick forest then. The people of the community wanted it to be developed and they approached me.
I bought several properties from them, even from Chief Nehizena. I bought a land measuring 1000ft by 2000ft from one Sunday Iduwe who is now late. He was their brother. Unfortunately, they told me he doesn’t have any right to sell land to me. He claimed he was the Enogie of Obe.
In Benin tradition, a woman cannot be heir-apparent. For me that was where the error came from. I apologised to them and told them that I was deceived by Iduwe. They demanded for more money so that they can release the plot of land to me which I gave them.
We entered into an accord and we were all very happy. I told them that I wanted to buy more land as I was planning to build an estate with a private cemetery because the cemetery in Benin was so bad that people go there and dig the graves and use the bodies for rituals. They agreed and sold more land to me. Then my land measurement became 1000ft by 4000ft which is about 400 plots.
Unknown to me, Christ Embassy had encroached on my land based on the agreement that they had with the community. From the information reaching me the Esama was aware of all these. He was the person that facilitated the deal between the community and the Christ Embassy.
Then I used to serve my deities which is known as ATR(Africa Traditional Religion). The church see me as a jujuman while they’re Christians. I decided to approach them for reconciliation. I wrote a letter which I forwarded through the church workers to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome. I wouldn’t know if the letter got to him. I got no response till now. I am presently in court with Christ Embassy over the land.
I am surprised that another community which used to be part of Ogheghe have broken away from Ogheghe. I also sent a reminder letter to Christ Embassy through my lawyer, Barrister Ighekpe Martins on the 5th January, 2007, yet no response from them.
Recently, I hosted some people from the community led by one gentleman called Daniel. I told them that the land is mine and they said they don’t have any problem with me but that they’re trying to recover their land there. I let them know that I am in court with Christ Embassy.
A brother of mine, Hon. Mathew Iduoyemkewen called me to say that he has being hearing my name being mentioned about the Christ Embassy land. I explained to him that the land belongs to me. I bought it many years ago and that I am in court with Christ Embassy. He said that one of the church’s pastors claimed that they have settled me. This is not true. They have not settled me. Rather, they ignored me.
They claimed that they have a C of O for the land. C of O does not give you ownership as you cannot build on nothing. I wonder how the state government issued the C of O to them. I am ready to take the government to court for issuing a falsified C of O to them.
Ten years ago when the matter was on, I approached Hon. Pascal Ugbome. He is aware of it. I understand that he has been chosen to represent Christ Embassy Church to dialogue with people who are claiming ownership of the land including Mr. Daniel, who happens to be the youth leader of the community.
I don’t have any problem with Ogheghe. I don’t have any problem with Obe because I have my documents. When Obe Community made that claim that I wanted to make cheap money, they went back to the same newspaper to retract their allegation. They said that they were sorry that my land is intact. Infact that I own the land and some other lands in Obe because I paid for them. The man that was representing me then was Barrister Nosakhare Obaizamomwan. He is alive and can attest to this.
I hope the Christ Embassy can reconcile with any other person that has interest in this land. As Christ followers, you must show a better example. It shouldn’t be all about money. The church is not supposed to be a money-making institution.
This article is a narration by Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor, President of One Love Foundation.