N2billion ‘Slapping’ Case against Bishop Oyedepo, Dismissed

JULY 12, 2012 An Ogun State High Court sitting in Sango Ota today Thursday 12 July, 2012 dismissed the N2 billion fundamental human right suit filed against the founder and President of the Living Faith Christian Church International, David Oyedepo, over allegation that he slapped a young female member of his congregation.
The court dismissed the suit on the grounds that the affidavit filed by the complainant’s lawyer, Robert Igbinedion did not comply with section 115 of the evidence act.

According to the court most of the averments by the applicant were contrary to Section 115 of the Evidence Act which states that only facts and the description of circumstances could be stated in an affidavit.

The court also held that the suit was incompetent because the complainant, who was simply referred to as Justice, is not an identifiable person before the law and as such could not claim infringement of rights.

The court noted that the issue of slap as contained in the suit bordered on the law of tort and should not have been brought before the court through fundamental human right enforcement.N20, 000 was awarded against the applicant.

The prosecutor said he will consider filing an appeal to the court judgment.

He also said he will immediately petition the police to arrest and prosecute Mr Oyedepo for assault.

Mr Igbinedion, a Lagos based lawyer, had in April, filed a suit on behalf of the young lady, who was slapped during a church service, for the enforcement of the lady’s fundamental rights to freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment, human dignity, fair hearing, and freedom from discrimination.

He had prayed the court to award the sum of N2 billion as ‘general and exemplary damages’ against the bishop as well as compel him to publish a public apology in two national dailies and one international satellite television.

In a counter affidavit deposed by Olugbenga Adegboye, the church’s senior legal officer, Mr Oyedepo stated that “his ministry is a ministry where the holy bible is preached and people are prayed for without coercion.

The church also said that there is no record of anyone called Miss Justice – a sobriquet given to the young lady for the purpose of the suit – in any of its services organized in the past.
A written address to support the preliminary objection signed by F. B Agbanwu, the church’s Solicitor, insisted that the matter is not within the Nigeria constitution or the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Furthermore, the church urged the court to determine whether Mr Igbinedion is capable of “bringing this kind of application” before it and whether “it is proper to bring this application against the 1st and 2nd respondents (Mr Oyedepo and his church respectively).
In December last year, a YouTube video of Mr Oyedepo viciously slapping a young lady who admitted that she was “a witch for Jesus” during an altar call went viral on the internet.

A second video that surfaced days later showed the bishop justifying his action adding that it is “his ministry to slap” and that “if he sees another witch, he’ll slap.”