Assemblies of God dismisses insinuations of disunity
The Assemblies of God Nigeria led by Dr. Chidi Okoroafor has dismissed insinuations that it was maintaining peace in disunity.
National Press Secretary of the church, Barr. Joel Ejiofor described the claim as vexatious. According to him, the intention is to distract the Church of Jesus Christ from moving forward.
His words: “We would have ignored it as we had always done in most cases but for posterity sake, we chose to put the records straight. The Constitution and Bye-Law 2002 of the Assemblies of God Nigeria, which was in force at the time Dr. Paul Emeka was suspended on March 6, 2014 had sufficient provisions in it for resolving internal conflicts that erupted within the church but Dr. Emeka chose to appeal his case in the court of law. This action of taking the church to court with intention to drag its good name to the mud was a clear violation of Article XII (21) of the Church’s Constitution, which provides ‘Taking the Church to court for any reason’ as one of the causes of discipline.
“The root cause of the church crisis was Paul Emeka’s autocratic and dictatorial style of leadership, which the majority of the church members complained against but instead of taking peaceful steps as recommended by the then Executive Committee in resolving the complaints brought against him, he decided to go public with the intention to intimidate the sheep under his care.
“The Court of Appeal held on April 14, 2015 that the direct immediate cause of the crisis was the respondent’s (Paul Emeka’s) refusal to agree with the majority of the members of the executive on how to react to and address the complains brought against him. It also held that evidence presented before it as Exhibit PE5 establish that Paul Emeka abused the exclusive power given to him as the General Superintendent to determine matters in consultation with the Executive Committee.”
Ejiofor said it was untrue that the church was unyielding to all means of peaceful settlement. According to him: “How can Paul Emeka be talking about peace. On May 20, 2014 thugs invaded the national office of the church and beat up her national officers who were holding a national executive committee meeting. Many of the officers received various injuries and one of them was forced to jump from the first floor of the building. “
Ejiofor alleged countless attacks on many members and pastors of the church often during Sunday worship.
“Several persons including some senators of Igbo extraction have pleaded with Paul Emeka to show remorse and plead for forgiveness so that the church can give him soft landing but he persistently turned it down. Take Note that the meeting of March 6, 2014 was properly convened. Section 3 of Article VIII of the 2002 Church Constitution clearly states the requirements that should be met before a General Committee Meeting will be convened. One major requirement is that 33 per cent or more of the members of the General Committee can call for a special session and more than 33 per cent requirement was met before convening the meeting. Section 3 (2) (c) of Article VIII provides that the General Committee, ‘shall act as a court of final appeal for all issues the Executive Committee cannot resolve.’
“Paul Emeka described the General Committee Meeting on March 6, 2014 as illegal simply because he did not preside over it. How can he be a judge in his own case? The principle of natural justice that says, Nemo judex in causa sua means, literally, ‘no-one should be a judge in his own cause.’ The Court of Appeal in giving its response to this issue said: ‘This is not correct. There is nothing in the Constitution of the church stating that he shall preside or chair such meetings.‘ The Court of Appeal went further to say while upholding the decisions of the General Committee on March 6, 2014 that ‘As I had herein, the 6-3-2014 meeting and decisions of the General Committee cannot be challenged or impugned.’
“Fresh suits instituted by Paul Emeka against the Church at High Court of Enugu State and Federal High Court cannot see the light of the day because it is still on the same issue of challenging his suspension and dismissal from the Church, which the Court of Appeal Judgment of 14/4/2015 and Supreme Court judgment of 24/2/2017 has laid to rest. Whatever he is doing now amounts to exercise in futility.
“Rev Emeka also claimed to have an ex parte order restraining the police not to prevent his group from having access to the national secretariat. This again is false and deceitful. Three members of his group went behind the police to secretly obtain an order in their personal names. Rev Emeka is not a party to that suit and cannot acquire any right under it. The said three members of his group are not trustees of the church and have no business whatsoever in the National Secretariat of the Church. However, in his usual way Rev Emeka did not tell the press that the Federal High Court order he is flaunting does not include his name or those of any of his other followers.
“It is not true that Paul Emeka’s case at the Supreme Court was dismissed based on wrong filing of the processes. It is on record that Rev Paul Emeka filed a suit in April 2014 claiming, among others, to be entitled to the office of General Superintendent of the church and N500m as damages for his removal from office. The High Court gave judgment in his favour and upon appeal by the church; the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment and held inter alia that:
a. The meeting of March 6, 2014 whereby the church removed and dismissed Rev Paul Emeka from the office of General Superintendent of the church was legitimate and validly held.
b. The dismissal of Rev Paul Emeka from the church was valid and legitimate.
c. The office of General Superintendent of the church is not a personal right of Rev Paul Emeka and he cannot enforce that right in any court of law.
d. And that Rev Emeka was elected into that office in 2010 for a term of four years, which expired in 2014.
“The judgment of the Court of Appeal above was upheld by the Supreme Court on February 24, 2017. “The finding of the court below that the suit is incompetent is upheld.
I therefore hold that the appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed.”