The Ogun State Government has demolished a church building owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG. The RCCG is one of Nigeria’s largest Pentecostal churches and its head, Enoch Adeboye, is one of the country’s most revered men. Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, is also a pastor of the church.
The demolished building is located inside the estate, Obasanjo Hilltop, named after ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo by the state government; and located along the Presidential Boulevard, Abeokuta, the state capital.
The construction of the church, headed by a former lawmaker in Ogun State, Remmy Hazzan, started in 2013, and was being roofed when the government rolled out caterpillars on Friday to pull it down. The church leadership was meant to commence use of the ground floor for church activities on November 8 prior to the building’s completion.
On Friday, as the state government demolished the building, workers at the site and church members burst into tears, with some shouting “Jesus, Jesus, this is your house,” “Lord where is your face.”
It was learnt that the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun, insisted the building be pulled down, arguing that the structure violated the residential master plan of the estate.
When contacted, the Ogun State Commissioner for Special Duties, Leke Adewolu, said he was not aware of the demolition. However, Governor Amosun’s Special Adviser on Media, Adejuwon Soyinka, said the demolition was carried out because the church building was not approved.
“I am told that the church has no title documents nor approval,” Mr. Soyinka said. “The estate is strictly residential, and the building has defeated the approved design plan. And let me quickly add, nothing is political about the action.”
The Commissioner for Urban and Regional Planning ,Adebola Adeife, did not respond to phone calls or text message sent to him by our correspondent.
Officials of the RCCG also declined public statements although one of the top officials of the church in Ogun said Mr. Adeboye had asked everyone to stay quiet on the issue.