Dec 19,2023.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
A former Zonal Pastor at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, Sunday Baruwa Olowoyeye, has instituted a suit against the Founder and General Overseer of the denomination, Dr. Daniel Olukoya at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, in which he alleges that the foremost cleric caused the police to illegally detain him for 16 days.
Olowoyeye, in an originating Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Order 11, Rule 2 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement) Rules 2009, Sections 33,35,36,39 and 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and made available to PM News, is asking the court to order that Olukoya and the other respondents in the suit pay him the sum of N250 million for their “illegal and oppressive detention” of him at the Alagbon Police Station from May 28, 2021 to June 13, 2021.
The co-respondents in the suit filed on the applicant’s behalf by his legal team led by Adesina Ogunlana, are the Incorporated Trustees of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry, a Superintendent of Police, Tawose Ayoleyi of the Federal Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, and the Nigerian Police Force.
In the affidavit filed in support of the Motion on Notice, Olowoyeye avers that he served as a cleric at MFM from 1992 to 2021. He says he was a Zonal Pastor at the Praise and Thanksgiving Parish of the denomination at Ayobo, Lagos.
According to him, his last salary before he was “unceremoniously and maliciously sacked” was N35,000. He says his troubles began when his wife got very sick in 2019 and he had to approach the church leadership for help since he had exhausted his financial resources. He adds: “ I approached my immediate boss in the 2nd Respondent (MFM), one Pastor Simeon Tioluwani, my Regional Overseer to seek N50,000 on loan assistance from the ministry but the Regional Overseer rejected my request stating the unavailability of funds for medical treatment of sick members”.
According to him, he wrote letters of appeal to Olukoya but got no response. He says later MFM shut down all its outlets in April, 2020 to obey government directions during the COVID-19 lockdown. He says his salaries for April, May, June, July and August, were not paid but initially assumed this was because of the lockdown only for him to learn later that all other MFM workers were paid during the period.
I asked Pastor Tioluwani the reason for the stoppage of my salary to which he replied, ‘I am only carrying orders from above’. I pressed him further but to no avail and despite my repeated pleadings to him for about a week, his stance did not change at all,” he claims. The embattled former MFM pastor says he wrote letters to Olukoya to complain about the stoppage of his salaries but rather than get redress, he was handed a letter terminating his employment.
In the affidavit, Olowoyeye says he had to contact a blogger, Maureen Badejo who broadcast his plight. He says some days after this, “the third respondent (Ayoleyi) got four policemen who violently and brutally arrested me at Shitta Roundabout, Surulere at about 11:00am and who took me, handcuffed, to her at Anthony Bus Stop, Ikorodu Road from where she took me to her Alagbon Police Station office, Ikoyi, Lagos”.
Olowoyeye claims he was detained for 16 days and forced to make a video denouncing his complaints to Maureen Badejo with a promise that he would be paid N10 million. He says his resolve broke because of his “hellish detention”. He says he was only given N300,000 after he made the video. According to him, Ayoleyi asked him to write a letter of apology to the MFM founder before he could get the promised N10 million, but claims he was only given N500, 000.
In addition to the N250 million damages, the applicant in his Motion on Notice, among other things, seeks a declaration that his arrest was illegal and an abuse of powers executed with excessive force and a violent breach of his fundamental human rights. He prays the court to declare that his detention was a gross breach of his right to personal liberty as it was illegal and unjustifiable.
Counsel to the applicant, Ogunlana, said the matter would come up for hearing on Tuesday before Justice Taiwo Oladokun.(www.naija247news.com)