Queen Emegha Ozuke, business woman and founder of a reputable nursery, primary and secondary school in the Kubwa area of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, speaks to Chris Ogbor on her ordeal in the hands of some men who call themselves pastor and Bishop.
It is an irony that Queen Ozuke, who should to be enjoying the dividend of being one of the pioneer visitors to Abuja after its creation and should be reaping the fruits of her labour, is rather in a dilemma as a result of the nefarious activities of some dubious ministers of the gospel.
Queen Ozuke, who hails from Igbanke in Edo State and has been living in Abuja since 1979, said she was one of the contractors that supplied Dumez (Nig.) Limited elephant grass which the company used for erosion control while constructing roads in various parts of the Federal Capital City (FCC) in the 1980s. As a pioneer settler and business woman, she was allocated plots of land in Deidei, Jikwoyi, Kubwa, Kurudu, et al, in the FCT and established a primary-cum-secondary school in Kubwa town.
According to the 68-year-old woman: “My problem started when my beloved daughter, Patience got married to Mr Etumudon Godwin and later had a baby. Because she was nursing a child, Patience’s husband introduced a lawyer known as Abdullahi Ibrahim to me to serve as legal adviser of my school.”
Ozuke disclosed that in September 2008, Abdullahi borrowed the sum of N1million from her late daughter (Patience) on the pretext that he was going to use it to execute contract at the police headquarters in Abuja. She added that Abdullahi promised that he would pay back the money with interest on the 17th day of October 2008, but has not done so up till now.
She also said Abdullahi in turn introduced to her, one Pastor Alani Alex, general overseer of Creative Faith International Gospel Centre who was said to be looking for a place to use as branch of his church. She said that Alex eventually rented a large hall in her school compound and paid rent for the first year, 2009. He also did some repair work on a 3-bedroom flat annexed to the school for use by his church.
LEADERSHIP, however, gathered that Ozuke reached an agreement with the pastor to stay in the school compound for three years (2009-2012) only, and to go with her to the market to purchase all building materials necessary for the renovation work for record purposes, but that the pastor bought the materials without her knowledge.
At the end of the three years agreed, Ozuke said, “Pastor Alex refused to vacate my premises except I refunded to him the sum of N4.1 million which he alleged he spent on the renovation of the property.”
An eviction notice to Pastor Alex, dated July 26, 2013 and from Ozuke’s lawyer, Barrister S. O. Peters reads: “Very sadly, contrary to the terms of the understanding and agreement you have with our client, you have willy nilly decided to overstay the three (3) years fixed duration and even went further to forcefully annex some other parts of the school and against our client’s consent decided to make use of the building as part of your worship centre. To make and use someone else’s property without the consent and permission of the owner of the property under the guise of religion is to portray the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in bad light …”
Reacting to the allegations referred to in the letter when LEADERSHIP met him on Sunday, August 18, 2013, Pastor Alex insisted that he paid a sum of N450,000 to Madam Ozuke in 2009 for the use of the hall and spent an additional N4.1 million for renovation work on the property.
The pastor, who said he built the school hall because there was no structure on ground when he started worshiping at the premises, said he would vacate the place whenever Ozuke refunds the N4.1 million to him. He also said he was willing to have an architect or quantity surveyor assess the extent of work done and expenses incurred during the renovation.
The bursar of the school, Mr Emmannuel Odiniya, however, said there was existing structure in the school compound, adding that the clergyman actually roofed the hall and did renovation work on the uncompleted building. He also disclosed that the pastor is currently making use of a classroom in the school as his children church, adding that he (the pastor) promised to deduct the rent in respect of the classroom from the money Ozuke would pay to him.
Another ‘man of God’ who allegedly defrauded Ozuke of several millions of naira is Bishop Promise Dibie, a former lecturer at College of Education, Agbor in Delta State but now with College of Education, Zuba in the Federal Capital Territory.
In 2008, according to Ozuke, “Bishop Dibie and his mother (Theresa) approached me that they needed a place in Abuja to establish their church and I showed them my plot of land No. D41 at Zaudan, Pazeri and Sabon Gari Layout near Deidei, for temporary use.
“I thought Bishop Dibie and his mother were true preachers of the gospel because they prayed fervently and spoke in tongues each time they visited me. So I drew closer to them and regarded them as family friends, not knowing that they are sheep in wolves’ clothing”, Ozuke said with tears streaming down her eyes.
She also disclosed that while her daughter (late Patience) and her husband (Godwin) were seriously ill, she asked Dibie to sell her 18-seater bus and a plot of land on Arab road, Kubwa, to defray their medical bills.
“Bishop sold the bus for N500,000 and the plot of land for N2.5 million to one Pastor Sam of Christ’s Victorious Church, Kubwa, bringing the total amount to N3million but unfortunately, my daughter died two weeks after the death of her husband and few days after the sale of the property. When I asked Bishop to give me the N3 million, he promised to do so after the burial ceremony of my daughter.
She also claimed, “Pastor Sam also robbed me of N200,000 on the pretext that he would supply machine for printing of exercise books to my school. Sadly, up till date, neither has Pastor Sam nor Bishop Dibie refunded the money to me”, Ozuke lamented.
Madam Ozuke also told LEADERSHIP that Bishop Dibie stole photocopy of her document in respect of her plot of land in Jikwoyi, sold it to one Dr Ademola Adeyinka through a female lawyer for N4million and instead, paid N1.6 million into her account.
“I, however, paid back the N1.6 million to Bishop Dibie and sold the land by myself, to a civil servant”, Ozuke disclosed.
In his reaction, Dr Ademola Adeyinka in a telephone chat with LEADERSHIP, said he reported the matter to the police at Jikwoyi police station on Thursday, June 26, 2013, adding that Bishop Dibie is yet to refund the N4 million he defrauded him of through the female lawyer who allegedly posed as the rightful owner of the land.
Asked why he has not collected his money from the Bishop or the female lawyer since the past four years, Adeyinka said, “I am a very busy man, I am taking my time, but be rest assured that by God’s grace, I must get back my N4 million”.
Concerted efforts by LEADERSHIP to get the response of Bishop Dibie have not been successful because some of his colleagues at the College of Education, Zuba said he travelled abroad a few months ago, to pursue his masters degree programme at Coventry University in the United Kingdom.
LEADERSHIP also gathered from an unimpeecable source in Agbor, Delta State that Bishop Dibie fraudulently collected the sum of N1.3 million from Messrs Udoka and Nduka on the pretext of issuing them visas to travel to Europe. Our source further revealed that the victims dragged the Bishop to the police in Agbor where he gave each of them N300,000 with a promise to refund the balance, but has not done so up till now.
In reactions to the nefarious activities of ‘new generation’ men of God in Nigeria, two elders of a Pentecostal Church (names withheld), who are aware of Madam Ozuke’s predicaments, wondered why Pastor Alex would still be preaching and asking people to repent of their sins when he was yet to vacate the premises of the 68-year-old woman after the expiration of his tenancy.
And why Bishop Dibie, an overseer of St Peter’s Christ Army Church of Nigeria in Agbor, Delta State, has refused to pay her the N3 million he realised from the sale of her property since 2009.