An Enugu High Court has granted a perpetual order restraining the police from arresting popular Enugu Pastor, Christopher Orji on allegations of swindling a former member of the Church, Dr. Adaeze Anyaegbunam to the tune of over N29 million.
Earlier reports had wrongly indicated that the Court, presided over by Hon. Justice Okey P. Anike had in a ruling on the matter of an application brought by Pastor Orji, the General Overseer of the City of Jesus International Ministry (COJIM),Enugu, for enforcement of his fundamental rights, ordered his arrest and arraignment over the alleged fraud.
However, a Certified True Copy of the court papers shows that the claim was not only inaccurate but the Court had instead, granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining Dr. Adaeze Anyaegbunam and four others including the Inspector General of Nigeria Police Force, “by themselves or by their agents, privies or workers howsoever described, from instigating, searching, inviting and seeking to arrest and further re-arrest the applicant for the purpose of detention, torture or compelling the applicant to pay any sum of money howsoever described or make a return of free will donations arising from the religious relationship between Dr. Anyaegbunam (the 5th respondent) and the applicant “(Orji)”.
The other respondents in the case are the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, the Assistant Inspector General, Nigeria Police, Force CID (Annex) Agbani Road, Uwani Enugu and SP Chidi Nwanze (Investigating Police Officer).
An affidavit in support of the cleric’ s fundamental rights application deposed to by one Innocent Orji, a trustee of the Ministry stated that Dr Anyaegbunam who hails from Anambra State but resident in the United Kingdom, was a member and partner of the ministry who “participated, partnered and shared testimonies on her personal experience while partnering in the missionary works of the church”.
Members of the church, according to him, do give freewill offerings and donations and also sow seeds of faith as they wished.
He noted that the church however maintained strict rules regarding the receipt of monetary and materials messages on the church’s Whatsapp platform.
Dr Anyaegbunam according to the affidavit had insisted that she was led by the spirit to support the church materially but the church was initially reluctant to accept.
However, she continued to pressure the church through continuous Whatsapp messages and recorded voice calls to receive and accept her free will donations and gifts. She later, willfully and voluntarily donated a Toyota Sienna Car with relevant purchase and transfer documents to the church.
Surprisingly however, the deponent said, she sent a letter dated 30th September 2021 via her solicitors giving the church 15 days to return the vehicle and all freewill gifts , donations and cash that she had given to the church.
The affidavit stated that Dr Anayaegbunam, accompanied by two policemen later came to the temporary site of the church while service was going to serve the same demand letter and threatened to arrest and humiliate Pastor Orji and the others if they failed to do so.
The deponent said that the applicant was eventually invited by the police and a statement and undertaking forcefully obtained from him to produce all the offerings and donations made by Dr. Anyaegbunam to the church within a specific date period of time or face re-arrest.
He stressed that the applicant and other members of the church were compelled to seek protection from the court out of fear and apprehension over the development.
When contacted, counsel to Pastor Orji, Mr C.C Eze, of the law firm of EZE C. EZE & ASSOCIATES, confirmed the court order on the respondents adding that earlier reports on the matter were mischievous fabrications that were designed to deceive, mislead and confuse the public.
Mr. Eze further disclosed that a civil suit filed by the same Dr. Adaeze Anyaegbunam in SUIT NO E/217/2022; DR. ADAEZE ANYAEGBUNAM VS PASTOR CHRISTOPHER ORJI & ANOR wherein Dr. Anyaegbunam had sought for the declarations and orders of the High Court, to recover the alleged Sienna car, other material gifts and cash has, also been struck out.
Eze presented a certified true copy of court of the order of an Enugu High Court presided over by Hon. Justice M. N. Aroh – Onuoha made on 17/6/2022 to confirm the position. The court order was signed by the Chief Registrar 3, N. L.Chijioke-Agbo.
Also, a police investigation report made available to our correspondent showed that the police did not make out any case against Pastor Orji as alleged in the reports.