Business Registration: Oyakhilome’s Christ Embassy Church Loses N1.5m Suit Against CAC

A N1.5 million suit, filed by the church pastored by Chris Oyakhilome, Believers Loveworld a.k.a Christ Embassy, against the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), before a Federal High Court, Lagos, was dismissed today, for lacking in merit.

Justice Ayotunde Faji, who presided over the suit, also awarded cost of N100, 000, against Christ Embassy and Incorporated Trustees of Christ Embassy Church International, who was the second plaintiff in the suit.

Oyakhilome’s church had dragged CAC and its Register-General before the court and asked for a declaration the a name ‘Christ Embassy Friends and Partners, which CAC intend to register is part of its registered name, as such is capable of misleading and deceiving innocent Nigerians and general public.

The church also urged the court to declare that registration of the club name ‘Christ Embassy Friends and Partners’, is unlawful, null and voitand contravenes the provisions of sections 30 and 594 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2004. And an order of perpetual injunction restraining CAC and its Registrar General from registering the name Christ Embassy Friends and Partners.

While asking for N1.5 million being the cost of instituting the suit, the plaintiffs in their statement of claim filed and argued before the court by their lawyer, Adekunle A. Sogunle, stated that they are well known to Nigerians and the world at large, in its alias as ‘Christ Embassy’, adding that the activities and programs Christ Embassy are not hidden as they are widely publicized on media and internet.

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They also stated that the persons who wish to register ‘Christ Embassy Friends and Partners’, have no relationship whatsoever with them, and do not have authority or consent of the church to register the name. Adding that the name ‘Christ ‘Embassy Friends and Partners’ is a name do identical and similar to the name Christ Embassy, and capable of misleading and deceiving innocent Nigerians.

They further stated that it would be prejudicial to them and would pose great danger to unsuspecting Nigerians, especially its members.

The church therefore urged the court to grant all the reliefs sought against the defendants.

However, the defendants, CAC and its Registrar General, in urging the court to dismiss Christ Embassy’s suit, in their statement of defence filed before the court through their lawyer, Hyginus C. Ugwu, had argued that the name they intend to register was in respect of an association by name: Christ Embassy Friends and Partners Association, and not Christ Embassy Friends and Partners, as presented by the Church.

The defendants also stated that Christ Embassy Friends and Partners Association, is not a religious organizations but a social group, and that is completely different from Christ Embassy Church International, which is a religious organization.

The defendants stated that the plaintiff’s objection to the registration of Christ Embassy Friends and Partners Association, is uncalled for, as the name is not identical or similar to Christ Embassy Church International.

CAC also stated that it approved the registration of Christ Embassy Friends and Partners Association, because it was not similar or identical to any existing or regisiname or to Christ Embassy Church International, and that the only similarly, if any, is the generic names “Christ” and “Embassy”, which it claimed nobody has monopoly of usage.

The defendants also described Christ Embassy’s suit against them as a gold digging exercise, as the approved name which is yet to be registered is radically different in both name and objectives/aims from the plaintiffs’ name and objectives.

The defendants therefore urged the court not to grant the plaintiffs’ declaration and orders against them, as the suit was brought in bad faith.

Delivering judgement in the suit of Friday, Justice Faji, after citing several plethora authorities, agreed with the defendants’ arguments.

The judge ruled that there different between plaintiffs’ ‘Christ Embassy’ and the organization which the defendants intend to register ‘Christ Embassy Friends and Partners Association’.

The judge consequently dismissed Christ Embassy’s suit for lacking in merit, and also awarded a cost of N100, 000, in favour of the defendants.

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