Sunday, February 5, 2017 4:22 pm
By Akin Kuponiyi
In a bid to enforce the judgment of a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria that awarded him N500million compensatory damages, Gospel Apostolic church Pastor, Garuba Gabriel Osah Obabueki, has commenced garnishee proceedings against the founder of Gospel Apostolic Church, the late Samuel Akinbode Sadela, the church, and two other pastors of the church. A garnishee proceeding is a judicial process whereby “a judgment creditor who is armed with the judgment of a court may recover such debt owed by judgment debtor from a 3rd party who in turn has an obligation to the judgment debtor.”
Consequently, the court has summoned 19 commercial banks to appear before the court to show cause while the money should not be paid.
The court summons on the 19 banks was sequel to a ganishee proceedings brought before the court by Pastor Obabueki, a judgment creditor in a fundamental right enforcement suit filed against Reverend Sadela, his church Gospel Apostolic church ,and two other defendants who are judgment debtor in the Suit.
Other judgement debtors in the Suit are: one pastor Ozugbaku, and one Pastor Timothy Bamidele Abaderu.
In the suit that brought about the Ganishees proceedings, a Lagos Federal High Court presided over by Justice Musa Kurya, had in March 12, 2014, awarded a Judgement sum of N500 million in favour of Pastor Obabueki, for brutal shooting of his two eyes by the judgement debtors
Pastor Obabueki in his uncontroverted and uncontradicted affidavit stated that he was serving under Reverend Samuel Akinbode Sadela, his head pastor and General Overseer who had ordained him Pastor on 2nd September, 1996. He was then posted to Akwa Ibom Branch in the year 1996. On October 31, 2000 he was invited to a yearly meeting by Reverend Sadela to hold in Lagos. After the meeting and on the 1st of November, Reverend Sadela asked the Pastors to submit monies realised from tithes and offerings in their branches.
He stated that when it came to his turn, he told them that he can only submit the list having given all monies to Reverend Sadela while showing them the list for all monies realised.
He stated that his submission resulted in quarrel. He was queried by Timothy Bamidele Abaderu but the quarrel was settled by late Reverend Sadela and after this, himself and Pastor Abaderu went into separate room, where Pastor Abaderu took a gun and shot him right in the eyes while trying to escape and now he is completely blind and cannot see at all. These are the activities of the “men of God”. He said, before the incident he was very healthy with his two eyes and could see without impediment.
The matter was reported to the Police but nothing came out of it. “That investigating Police Officer told him at his office at Zone two Police Headquarters, Lagos State on the 26th of July, 2001,that when he was recording the statement of Reverend Sadela, a Deputy Inspector General of Police from the office of the Inspector General of Police called for the file and the file was transfered to Abuja and the case was killed and all the respondents, Reverend Samuel Akinbode Sadela, Pastor Ozugnaku and Timothy Bamidele Abaderu were released. He then filed a civil suit to redress the injustice done to him.
In his judgment, Justice Kurya said “All the respondents were served and have all time and facilities at their disposal as required by law to defend this suit but have refused to do so. Therefore the facts deposed to by Pastor Garuba Gabriel Osah Obabueki have remained neither controverted nor contradicted and deem admitted.”
During the pendency of this case the defendants never filed any defence.
Consequently, Justice Kurya entered judgement in the sum of N500 million against the respondents for general, aggravated and exemplary damages against all the respondents severally and jointly, as reparation for the unconstitutional brutal and removal of Pastor Obabueki’s two eyes.
However, failure of the respondents to obey the court order against them, Pastor Obabueki, through his lawyer Malachy Ugwummadu filed a ganishees proceedings against the respondents.
The Ganishees proceedings, is now holding before justice Hadizat Shagari, who has ordered all the 19 banks to appear before the court to show cause why the judgement creditor should not be paid the Judgement debt of N500 million standing to the credit of the judgement debtors herein, in the custody of the banks, since the judgement debtors have failed or neglected to pay the judgement debt against them since March 12, 2014.
The matter has been adjourned till March 9.