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Church seeks justice in land encroachment case

By Effiong Udousoroh, Uyo on 12/04/2015

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The claim of ownership and subsequent forceful cultivation of a piece of land known to have belonged to the Qua Iboe Church, Nigeria (QICN) in Ikot Akpa Nkuk, Ukanafun Area Conference headquarters of the QICN in Akwa Ibom State, has been described as “sinful, wicked and totally non-religious.”

This assertion was handed down on Thursday when the authorities of the age-long Qua Iboe Church, reported the matter to the Ikot Akpa Nkuk village council, that members of the break-away group who named their new found organisation as “United Evangelical Church (UEC)” had forcefully trespassed into their land harbouring the residence of the Q.I.C. Superintendency Pastor in the community.

Receiving the church delegation, led by its chairman, Elder Uwem I. Akpanuko, the chairman of the village council, Obong Saturday Tom Umoren, who condemned the UEC claim as “unfounded” and “baseless”, however advised them to remain calm, assuring that justice would be done in the matter, and thanked the church delegation for treading the path of peace and maturity in handling the matter.

The chairman, who noted that the council was aware of the “unnecessary” bickering rocking the age-long Qua Iboe Church in some parts of the country, stated that the village council was committed to ensuring peace and harmony between the two groups over the 2,630 hectares of the church land.

 Umoren remarked that he was equally aware that “the donor of the land, late Chief Isaac Job, since 1978, never witnessed the existence of any organisation called United Evangelical Church (UEC), and as such, did not donate the said land to the UEC, just formed around 2007.”

He assured the Q.I.C. that the council would rely on the land agreement signed in 1978, to ensure that no party was robbed of its assets, stressing that if the council had seen the document earlier, it would have “since taken up the matter and ensure that justice was done as the traditional land lord of the church.”

Earlier, the spokesman for the church, Elder Akpanuko, had told the council that they were at the village council to lodge a formal complaint that “the break-away UEC members had forcefully encroached into and challengingly cultivated the age-long Q.I.C. land in the community.

Elder Akpanuko, who presented original copy of the land agreement to the village council, explained that “as faithful, peace-loving and law abiding members of the church and of the community”, they did not want to take the laws into their hands, instead they preferred to report the provocative matter to the village council members, most of whom, according to him, were “living witnesses that the encroached land belonged to the Q.I.C. and not UEC”, stressing that the church would not concede any portion of the land to UEC.

He mentioned the elderly people who witnessed and signed the agreement in 1978, to include, late Chief Isaac Job-the land lord; late Chief Frank Akpan Umoren-the village head; late Chief Johnson Akpan Essien, also of Ikot Akpa Nkuk and Elder Marcus Idiong, from neigbouring Q.I.C. Ikot Inyang Abia.

The spokesman also listed those who were present at the agreement signing ceremony, to include, late Ete Amos Udousoroh; late Elder Peter Egege, from neighbouring Ikot Odiong village; late Elder Willie Ido from Nkek; late Evang. Dick Itu; late Snr. Elder Frank Eyop, from Ikot Inyang Abia village; Elder Peter Ibekwe; Elder Amos Inyang; late Elder Mark Udoko; late Rev. J.T. Udiong; late Snr. Elder J.U.Ekaidem and late Elder F.T.Bassey, all from the Superintendency, among others.

News Express reports that the Qua Iboe Mission, was founded in 1887 at Ibeno, an Atlantic coast line community in Akwa Ibom State, by a renowned Missionary, Rev. Samuel Alexander Bill from Belfast, United Kingdom.

The church had grown to all parts of the country and abroad, with over 650 branches and more than 1 million communicants, apart from non-communicant members.

The Qua Iboe Church, Nigeria (QICN), has established over 300 Primary and Post-Primary institutions in the country.

It also established and maintained three Bible Colleges and two General Hospitals, as well as two Leprosy Hospitals and a Printing Press, among other life-touching ventures.

•Photo shows the church

 

Source News Express

Posted 11/04/2015 10:12:18 PM

 

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