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Former MFM Pastor Takes Olukoya To Court Over Alleged Illegal Detention, Seeks N250 Million Damages

Daud Olatunji

In a startling legal development, Sunday Baruwa Olowoyeye, a former Zonal Pastor at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministry (MFM), has filed a lawsuit against the founder, Dr. Daniel Olukoya, at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

Olowoyeye alleges that he was unlawfully detained for 16 days, sparking a legal battle that seeks N250 million in damages.

Olowoyeye, who served as a cleric at MFM from 1992 to 2021, claims his troubles began in 2019 when his wife fell seriously ill, leading him to seek financial assistance from the church.

The former Zonal Pastor alleges that his request for a loan was rejected, setting off a chain of events that culminated in his termination in April 2020, amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

In the originating Motion on Notice, Olowoyeye invokes constitutional provisions, alleging violations of his fundamental rights.

His legal team, led by Adesina Ogunlana, has named co-respondents in the suit, including the Incorporated Trustees of MFM, a Superintendent of Police, Tawose Ayoleyi, and the Nigerian Police Force.

The former pastor seeks N250 million for what he terms “illegal and oppressive detention” from May 28, 2021, to June 13, 2021, at the Alagbon Police Station.

Olowoyeye claims that after his repeated attempts to address the stoppage of his salary through letters to Olukoya failed, he resorted to seeking external help. This led him to contact a blogger, Maureen Badejo, who publicized his grievances.

Subsequently, Olowoyeye alleges that he was violently arrested by four policemen, led by Ayoleyi, and detained for 16 days at Alagbon Police Station.

During this period, he claims he was coerced into making a video denouncing his complaints with the promise of a N10 million payment, of which he received only N300,000.

In addition to the substantial damages sought, Olowoyeye’s Motion on Notice calls for a declaration that his arrest was illegal and an abuse of power, executed with excessive force.

He seeks the court’s declaration that his detention was a gross breach of his right to personal liberty, asserting that it was both illegal and unjustifiable.

Counsel to the applicant, Ogunlana, has confirmed that the matter is scheduled for a hearing before Justice Taiwo Oladokun on Tuesday.

The court is expected to address the alleged violations of Olowoyeye’s fundamental rights and the damages he claims to have suffered due to the actions of Dr. Daniel Olukoya and the other respondents.

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