Monday, 13 July 2015

Church Battles land with 87yr old woman in calabar



An 87-year-old woman, Mrs. Nkoyo Edet-
Bassey, is currently entangled in a land dispute
with Mount Zion Light House Full Gospel Church
at Efut Anantigha community in Calabar.
The land, which she reportedly purchased in
1979, was alleged to have been bought by the
church in 2001 from the land owner, Chief
Okokon Ekpeyong, who also sold the property to
the octogenarian.
Southern City News gathered on Sunday from
Edet-Bassey, who is a native of Edik-Okon-Idem
in the Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross
River State, that the disputed land was sold to
her by Ekpeyong with a valid Deed of Lease on
November 23, 1979.
It was also said to have been registered with the
lands registry, Calabar.
Coincidentally, the church also acquired the
same property from Ekpeyong and had mounted
a structure on the land.
Edet-Bassey said the structure the church
erected was illegal, alleging that the plot of land
was bought illegally.
She said, “Since I bought the land in 1979 from
Chief Okokon Ekpeyong, I have never sold any
portion to anyone neither did I mandate anybody
to sell any portion of my property on my behalf.
So, I don’t know who sold that portion to the
church and they have been disturbing my peace
ever since.”


Southern City News observed that there
appeared to be a mix-up in the deal that
transpired between the church and the individual
they bought the land from.
The receipt the church has bears the name Chief
Okokon Ambo, while the Deed of Lease was
issued by Chief Okokon Ekpeyong.
However, when contacted, the Superintendent of
Calabar Diocese of the Church, Bishop U.E.
Akpanitiat, said he was aware of the matter,
adding that the church acquired the parcel of
land legally.
He said, “People can go to any length to spoil
other people’s name. That place was sold to the
church by the late paramount ruler of Calabar
South, Chief Okokon Ekpeyong, with the receipts
of payment and agreement.
“The church struggled to build even while the
late monarch was alive and the woman and her
son did not raise any alarm then. But we are
amazed that no sooner than the former monarch
died and the building was completed that they
started talking.”
Akpanitiat alleged that the octogenarian started
her ‘troubles’ after a fund-raising ceremony in
the church to build an apartment for the pastor
in charge of the altar.
Also, the pastor in charge of the church, Apostle
David Ekpe, said as the ninth minister of the
Assembly, he was aware that the property was
genuinely acquired.
In the receipts presented, it was noted that the
land was sold to the church for N100, 000 by
Chief Okokon Ambo, who was the clan head of
Efut Anantigha in Calabar-South, and not Chief
Okokon Ekpeyong.
It was observed that the Deed of Lease was also
signed by Ekpeyong, while the said Ambo was
only a witness and not the seller of the said
land.
In his comment, the incumbent Paramount Ruler
of Calabar South, Effiong Mbukpa, confirmed that
the land was sold to Edet-Bassey by his
predecessor, Ekpeyong.
He said, “I detest and will not condone any form
of double dealing. It is a pathetic case and I
demanded to know their status as regards the
land in question; other parties came but the
church never showed up.
“I was shown the agreement that was made with
the former monarch. I don’t know the status of
the church because they did not come to me. But
I believe that their documents are doubtful,
otherwise they would have come to tender their
documents as well as come to settle the matter
amicably. Since they refused to appear, I advised
the woman to go to court to seek redress.”
It was learnt that after failed attempts by the
monarch to call the church to order, Edet-Bassey
went to court during which she got an interim
injunction (EDC/CV/10/2014) to stop any further
development on the land, but the church
allegedly disregarded the said injunction and
continued building.
When contacted, a senior official of the Cross
River State Ministry of Lands, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, said the church allegedly
passed through the “back door” to get approval
for the building.


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