THE crisis in Assemblies of God has taken a new dimension as a group of the church loyal to the General Superintendent (GS), Reverend Paul Emeka on Thursday accused the authorities of the Police and 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, Enugu of alleged complicity in the leadership squabble engulfing the church.
The church asked the Enugu Police Command and the 82 Division of the Nigeria army to explain to the world the legal authority which they relied upon to evict the factional general superintendent, Reverend Paul Emeka from the national secretariat of the church in Enugu and led the factional leader Rev Chidi Okoroafor into the secretariat to occupy it.
Speaking to newsmen in Enugu, Reverend Emeka described the action of the security agencies as “travesty of justice”, insisting that there was no court order anywhere asking them to lead the Okoroafor faction to take over possession of the secretariat.
Reverend Emeka noted that the Supreme Court judgment last month in the case he filed did not pronounce Okoroafor as the general superintendent of the church nor sacked him (Emeka) as the General Superintendent, stressing however that the court struck out the suit because service was wrong and that it should not have come by fundamental human rights.
He contended that the order upon which the action was carried out were neither served on him nor shown to him. He said: “Both parties were invited by the Police after the judgment where the Commissioner of Police made it clear that nothing had changed and that there was no declarative judgment or order by the court.
“We also went to the Force headquarters Abuja, where the Inspector General of Police said the same thing in the presence of lawyers who interpreted the judgment. But yesterday (Wednesday, the same Police led the Okoroafor faction into the secretariat to take over the place. Whatever influenced the Commissioner of Police is what we don’t know, because we don’t believe they acted based on judgment of court.
“Before the judgment came on February 24, the Commissioner of Police and his men came to my office and drove everybody away on the threat of teargas and locked up the place on the guise that they were acting to avoid breakdown in law and order. We had gone to court to challenge that action which case comes up today (Friday) and by yesterday (Wednesday), they moved in and started breaking everywhere and beating people at the secretariat”.
The Cleric stated that already a fresh process had commenced at the Enugu High Court over the problem, adding that they had a week ago served the relevant parties with the hearing notices coming up on April 27. Nonetheless, he added:
“The Assemblies of God is still under my control and I remain the General Superintendent. Truth will someday triumph, but I want the security agencies in Enugu to tell the world the authority they relied upon to evict us from the secretariat and asked Okoroafor to take over”.
Reacting to the allegations, authorities of the Police in Enugu and Army stated that they were at the premises to maintain law and order and protect property.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu said: “The Enugu state command of the Nigeria police Force wish to make it categorically clear that police never evicted any factional member of the Assemblies of God church as being contemplated but provided security to the officers of the supreme court and that of the state High court who were in Enugu to perform their lawful duties at the secretariat of the Assemblies of God church and that was based on the need not to give way to violence and eventual loss of lives and destruction of properties as if security were not given to the court officials.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, Col Musa Sagir said : “Nobody was brutalized by our personnel. You might be aware that the church has been in court for sometimes now; a supreme court judgment was given in favour of a party and I learnt the police in Enugu were there to enforce the court order. Our patrol team was also within the general area, in staging position to assist the police in case of impending breakdown of law”.
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