A businessman, Uba Emmanuel Abraham is entangled in a legal battle with a popular Lagos-based cleric, Pastor Lazarus Muoka of the Lord’s Chosen Church Inc., over some properties at Jakande Estate, Lagos State and Independence Layout Enugu, Enugu State. Abraham, who accused the Lagos-based popular pastor of falsifying the documents of his (Abraham’s) independence Layout property at Enugu, Enugu State, in favour of his church, also alleged threats to his life. But Muoka, through his lawyer, Mr, Obioma Oti, said Abraham had been paid for both properties. Abraham, who hails from Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State, said he joined Muoka’s church in 2005 on his late mother’s advice after he returned from Japan.
He said his travail began when he decided to leave Muoka’s church, and he asked Muoka’s Lords Chosen Church congregation to vacate his (Abraham’s) No. 2 Lemon Street house at Phase II, Lagos.
It was against this background, according to Abraham, that Muoka allegedly connived with one Ikedi Igbokwe, whom the pastor introduced to Abraham’s family as a house boy to give his property’s documents to Muoka while he was away in Japan in 2009. According to Abraham, on his return to the country he had demanded for his property’s documents from Muoka.
Abraham further alleged that Muoka, through Oti, denied knowledge and receipt of the documents but requested for N1m to search for them. Abraham claimed he refused to give any money but headed for the court where he swore to an affidavit for the lost documents to authenticate the ownership of his property. Abraham also claimed that Mouka falsified and registered his (Abraham’s) Independence Layout, Enugu property with the Enugu State Ministry of Lands in favour of his church after the March 2011 tsunami, thinking he (Abraham) had died in the disaster. “But when I came back from Japan and tried to survey and register the property, the fraud was discovered.
Confident that the property belongs to me and in a bid to get those behind the fraud, I fenced the property and built a bungalow on it and nobody came out to lay claims to the land,” Abraham added.
He added that after his relocation to Lagos, the property was pulled down by some youths allegedly sent by Muoka. Abraham said, “I invited the police, who arrested the suspects. They confessed they were sponsored by Muoka. The matter had since been taken to court.” He noted that he had been under threats from Muoka and his agents since 2011. “Sometimes, they would call me for negotiation and then send attackers after me. My life is in danger,” he said.
Abraham’s counsel, Mr. Benjamin Nduka, accused the Lord’s Chosen Church of trying to avoid appearing in court as neither the church nor her counsel had appeared in court for the two cases. Nduka said since the church was duly served the court summons, he would approach the court with a motion to compel it to appear in court, the only institution with the capacity to adjudicate on such matters.
When contacted, one of Muoka’s pastors in Lagos, Francis Eze, said he did not know anything about the said property in Enugu. Speaking for Muoka, Oti said Abraham was paid N2m for the half plot in Jakande Estate, Lagos. He also claimed that Abraham was paid N1.7m for the plot at Enugu eight years ago when there was no form of property development around the area. He said, “We fenced the two pieces of land in Lagos and Enugu, but to our greatest dismay, Uba (Abraham) went and demolished the fence at the Independence Layout. We reported the matter to the police and that is why the police are looking for him.”
Oti said Abraham was trying to drag the image of the church in the mud. He said the church never mandated Abraham to sell his landed property to them, but that Abraham disposed the land when his business in Japan crumbled. Oti said the matter was in court and that he would not like to discuss it in depth.