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Appeal court dismisses Reformed PCN claim on Church properties

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By Dennis Agbo

ENUGU Division of the Court of Appeal has dismissed Church properties ownership claim by the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Nigeria.

The Reformed PCN had broken away from the original PCN following leadership problem in the church and annexed some properties of the church in the Mid-East Synod located in Ebonyi South Senatorial zone.

Also read: Supreme Court adjourns request for review of its judgement in Zamfara till March 17

The Registered Trustees of PCN, however, approached the Abakaliki division of federal high court which granted custody of the properties to the “Worshipers” of the church and rejected reliefs sought by the Trustees of PCN.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the federal high court, the Plaintiff/Appellant appealed the verdict, asking that since the Reformed PCN voluntarily abandoned and ceased to be members of PCN, they were no longer entitled to the rights and privileges of the church.

The appellant contended that the breakout group do not have any proprietary rights over all or any of the property of PCN located within Mid-East Synod of the Church.

Delivering judgment on the appeal, the three-man panel led by Justice M O. Bolaji-Yusuf held that the Abakaliki federal high court was wrong in granting the claims of the Reformed PCN, and also failed to grant prayers of the Trustees of PCN for lack of evidence.

In the certified True copy of the judgment obtained by Vanguard, Justice Bolaji-Yusuf said: “I am of the firm view that the resolution of issues one and two distilled by this court has sufficiently put other issues to rest.

“Since the respondents have no pleading in support of their counter-claim, all the reliefs granted to them including the award of the property in dispute have no foundation to stand and hereby set aside.

“I set aside all reliefs granted by the trial court to the respondents (Reformed PCN) at pages 689 to 691 for the failure of the respondents to plead averments in support of their counterclaim. Both claims and counter-claims of the appellant and that of the respondents are hereby dismissed.”

No cost was awarded in the judgment.

 

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