Landlord drags church to court over unpaid rent

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MARARABA (NASARAWA) — The landlord of The Lord’s Chosen Church, New Nyanya, Mr Kola Sunmonu, yesterday, sued the church in a Mararaba chief magistrate’s court for allegedly failing to pay rent.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Raphael Nnabuike, told the court that the defendant was supposed to renew the rent annually.

Nnabuike also said the plaintiff had let part of his plot of land, measuring 100ft by 100ft at New Nyanya, to the defendant at the rate of N35,000 each year.
He told the court that the defendant only paid the initial rent of N35,000 on July 3, 2012. Nnabuike said the rent expired on July 3, 2013 but the defendant did not renew the tenancy.

The counsel alleged that the defendant also refused to sign the tenancy agreement which the plaintiff drafted and gave the church.
He told the court that part of the agreement was that the defendant should not erect any permanent structure on the plot.

Nnabuike said the defendant had gone to erect a permanent structure on the  plot.
He tendered a receipt of one year rent payment issued to the defendant by the plaintiff in 2012 as evidence.

The plaintiff, therefore, prayed the court to grant him permission to take immediate possession of his plot and also recover the arrears of six months rent, which amounted to N17,500, from the defendant.

The plaintiff also urged the court to help him recover N20,000, being the legal expenses he incurred from the case.

The pastor of the church, Mr Charles Nnabuife, who was in court without legal representation, told the court that the Lord’s Chosen Church preached what it practised.

Nnabuife said that the church was not in the court to contest the land with the plaintiff because it was not the owner of the land.
The defendant prayed the court to appeal to the plaintiff to give the church time to settle its rent.

It also prayed the court to beg the plaintiff to sell the said plot of land to the church if he planned to sell it.

The magistrate, Mr Habila Abundaga, asked Nnabuike, counsel to the plaintiff, to wade into the matter and resolve the dispute between the two parties before the adjourned date of July 24.

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