A Lagos State High Court has ordered the writer/publisher of Our Daily Manna, Rev Chris Kwakpovwe and the Registered Trustees of the Chapel of Liberty to pay a lawyer, Tamara Egbedi, of N9, 454,000, for negligence.
Egbedi had gone to court to complain about the broken teeth injuries she sustained when she attended a crusade organized by the clergy.
Delivering judgement in suit no. LD/359/2011, Justice SBA Candide Johnson said that from the evidence adduced by the parties, it was clear that Ms. Tamara suffered injuries at the venue while attending the crusade.
“It is difficult not to observe that for the Defendants who put themselves forward as spiritual shepherds of their sheep that they appear to have demonstrated scant care and concern for victims of their January 2010 spiritual crusade and have likewise by the letter of their lawyers (Exhibit F) dared this Claimant to go to Court, the Defendants appear to have elected carnal warfare over spiritual warfare thus leaving it to the Courts of Law to intervene,” he said.
Continuing, the judge said: “It is virtually ridiculous for Rev. Dr. Chris E. Kwakpovwe as the presiding Pastor, and a registered Trustee of Manna Miracle Mountain Ministry and the Publisher/Writer of “Our Daily Manna” (ODM) to invite the general public and the Claimant to a programme which they expected to and which “recorded a huge attendance” and then without any remorse or conscience, argue that they only rented space at the National Stadium so he and his religious ministry owed no duty of care or concern for the welfare and safety of the guests they had invited to their own spiritual “party” or event organized by them. It is this type of reckless impunity and consciencelessness that makes many people complain about callousness and wickedness in Nigeria.
“The National Sport Commission (NSC) rented space to the Defendants and it was the Defendants who structured, arraigned and independently organized their event to their own taste and standards…It is in my view, cowardly and irresponsible to invite a guest to your house or other venue for your independent event and then turn to blame a third party for your own want of care and want of organizational due diligence.”
Mrs Egbedi sustained injuries when some of her family members attended the end of an anointing service organised by the defendants at the National Stadium in Lagos.
The plaintiff in her statement of claims had said she lost seven teeth and suffered other injuries when she fell into an uncovered concrete gutter running in between the seats.
She said she informed Rev. Kwakpovwe at the end of the service, who handed her over to Mrs. St. Matthew Daniels, a senior member of the church, who, in turn, asked her to get an estimate of her treatment bill from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Ikeja (LASUTH) Dental Centre.
She did as she was told and said that to her surprise, the defendants instead of doing the needful, told her they were helping her out of charity.
She said the defendants soon changed their co-operative attitude by denying liability after her lawyers, in a March 3, 2010 letter demanded compensation.
They had insinuated that the plaintiff’s threat to go to court smacked of gold digging and expressed readiness to “meet you in court.”