The Deeper Christian Life Ministry has been accused of illegally acquiring a parcel of land in Ogun State.
Mr Franklyn Osezua, who has been representing the church, was accused of conniving with some police officers to threaten, intimidate, arrest and maliciously prosecute the people of Maba Town under Obafemi Local Government Area of Ogun State, who claim to be the legitimate owners of the land.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre, in a statement, said the church suddenly started laying claim to the vast parcel of land measuring about 31.599 acres.
The statement partly reads, "In furtherance to their strong-arm tactics to intimidate the owners of the land and forcefully take over their land, representatives of the Deeper Life Ministry have also been accused of a failed attempt to kidnap key members of the Ogunbolu family and this crime was reported to the police, leading to arrest of the culprits but the investigation was scuttled.
"RULAAC is particularly concerned about the unethical role of the police officers involved in aiding land grabbing by a Christian organisation and intimidating the rightful owners of the land in disregard to court orders re-affirming the ownership of the land and restraining the police from further harassing the Ogunbolu family, the legitimate owners of the land.”
The RULAAC Executive Director stated that the ownership of the land was affirmed by the judgment of the High Court of Abeokuta delivered by Hon. Justice A. Rotimi Balogun dated February 11, 2019.
He also said that the local chief of Maba Town (Baale of Maba Town), Chief Jimoh Akinrinola, was attacked and attempted to be kidnapped all in a bid to forcefully take over the land.
The statement added, "Sometime in 2019, some representatives of the Incorporated Trustees of Deeper Christian Life Ministry headed by one Mr Franklyn Osezua, with the aid of one Supol Taofeek Tijani of Zonal Monitoring Unit (ZMU) of Zone 2 headquarter, Onikan, Lagos State, invaded the entire land with thugs armed with dangerous weapons.
"Mr Franklyn Osezua has since then continued to use some officers of the Nigerian Police Force, especially DSP Funmi Eguaoje, Inspector Archibue Moses, Inspector Alabi Babatunde, Sergeant Martins Gimba of Area 10, FCT Abuja, and Taofeek Tijani of Zonal Monitoring Unit (ZMU) of Zone 2 headquarter Onikan Lagos State to threaten, intimidate, arrest and maliciously prosecute them over their parcels of land which they inherited from their forefathers who are the first settlers and owners of Maba town of Obafemi Owale Local Government Area of Ogun State. They put up signs on the land camouflaging as the Nigeria Legion to scare the owners from accessing their land.
"When the Deeper Life Ministry discovered that their plans to take over the land had failed, they then wrote a false and malicious petition against members of the Ogunbolu family to the Force CID Area 10 FCT ,which is the office of DSP Funmi Eghuaje, to help them use her office to intimidate and force the Ogunbolu family to give up their land and to maliciously prosecute them in court.
"With the prodding of DSP Funmi Eghuaje, the representatives of the Deeper Life Ministry led by Mr Franklyn Osezua wrote another frivolous petition against the Ogunbolu family to the property section of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
"Consequently, aged members of the Ogunbolu family were arrested again by officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and detained for over one week, before they were eventually released by a court order which restrained both the Nigerian Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from further harassing the Ogunbolu family.
“However, DSP Funmi Eghaje has refused to obey the court order owing to the huge sums of money being regularly given to her by the representatives of the Incorporated Trustees of Deeper Christian Life Ministry led by Mr Frankly Osezua to pervert justice.”
Nwanguma noted that DSP Eghaje and the officers acting under her instruction charged the Ogunbolu family to the Abeokuta High Court in Charge NO: AB/15C/2020 based on the false petition by representatives of the Deeper Life Ministry, which was not investigated.
He said it was not only an act of brazen lawlessness but also unprofessional for an officer, who is no longer in a matter and, who did not investigate a matter to charge people to court one year after based on a petition that was not investigated.
He urged the Inspector-General of Police to recall the case and assign it to a neutral and honest team for proper and thorough investigation to ensure the prosecution of all erring persons accordingly.
He also demanded that the Police Service Commission investigate the unprofessional conduct of DSP Funmi Eghaje and the other officers acting under her instruction in respect of the malicious charges against the Ogunbolu family.