The Incorporated Trustees of Christ Embassy Church International a.k.a “CHRIST EMBASSY, led by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, has dragged the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) and its registrar before a Federal High Court in Lagos, south west Nigeria.
In a statement of claim filed by a Lagos lawyer, Mr Adekunle Adebisi Sogunle, Christ Embassy Church stated that they have established churches all over Nigeria and are internationally well known to the general public as Christ Embassy and that the church has grown over the years with large number of followers in Nigeria and abroad.
However, the plaintiff alleged that on the 11th day of February 2015 the church’s attention was drawn to a publication of a notice in a newspaper of the planned registration of the name “CHRIST EMBASSY FRIENDS AND PARTNERS as an incorporated trustee.
Thereafter, the church mandated its solicitors to write a letter to the Corporate Affairs Commission objecting to the registration and it was expected that CAC would use its good offices to prevent the registration of Christ Embassy Friends and Partners that is so identical and similar to the name Christ Embassy and capable of misleading and deceiving innocent Nigerians.
The letter was duly received and acknowledged by the CAC but the plaintiffs have neither received any response nor seen any reasonable action taken by the CAC to stop the registration of the similar name.
Consequently, the church is urging the court to restrain the CAC and its registrar jointly and severally from registering the “CHRIST EMBASSY FRIENDS AAND PARTNERS.
The church is also claiming N1.5 million as the cost of instituting this suit.
However, in their response filed before the court by the law firm of EZEM Chris and Associates, the CAC and its registrar averred that Christ Embassy Friends and Partners Association is not a religions organisation but a social group as can be seen from their aims and objectives which were clearly stated in the said newspaper publication.
The CAC contended that Christ Embassy Friend and Partners Association, a social group is completely different from Christ Embassy Church International, a religious organisation whose aims and objectives are different from that of the church.
The defendant further stated that similarity of names alone does not suffice to reject a name. The similarity must be such as to cause deceit of confusion.
The defendant averred that registration of name are prohibited by CAC under two main categories namely names which are identical with already registered names and names which are so similar with an already registered name as to be calculated to deceive.
The defendant then contended that the suit is a gold digging exercise as the approved name which is yet to be registered is radically different in both name and objectives and aims from the plaintiffs name and object.
The presiding judge Saliu Saidu has adjourned till 26 October 2015 for hearing to commence.
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Christ Embassy is popular no doubt but so long as they are not registered with CAC, I think anybody can register "Christ Embassy"