Police avert fracas at Enugu Assemblies of God church
The Police in Enugu State Tuesday explained that its men were moved into the premises of the Assemblies of God Church Nigeraia, Mount Parish to forestall break down in law and order among members of the church.
Explaining that normalcy has returned at the parish, it said at no time did their men order the closure of the church following the disagreement that erupted on Sunday among the worshippers.
Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ebere Amaraizu said in Enugu that the church was neither shut down nor the members asked to vacate the premises, stressing that only the Divisional Police Officer in Ikerike took it upon himself to ensure that the two warring factions of the church acted in accordance with the law.
“We did not lock out the members or order the closure of the church. We are aware of the problem in the church. For several hours our men were there even under the rain ensuring that violence did not occur. They did their best in the prevailing circumstance as well as held talks with the leaders of the branch, which materialized in the peace we had at the moment. We can only take further actions if we discover that they are not acting according to agreements reached,” Amaraizu said.
The 27 Mount Street Parish of the church was turned into a battle field on Sunday as two pastors and their supporters engaged in fisticuffs over who should take control of the parish.
One of the Pastors, Rev (Dr.) Nathaniel Udeze came with letters of posting and other court documents in preparation to be installed as the new pastor, but his arrival with his team of supporters was resisted by the resident pastor, Rev. Amaechi Agbo and his supporters, who vowed not to shift ground for any “intruder.”
The development, according was the offshoot of the crisis, which has factionalized the Church since 2014 with two General Superintendents (GS); Rev (Professor Paul Emeka and Rev (Dr.) Chidi Okoroafor, respectively calling the shots at the highest level of the church.
The matter is currently in several courts including the Supreme Court to determine the true GS of the church.
The fracas at the 27 Mount Street Parish of the church was therefore a demonstration of power tussle between loyalists of the two contending General Superintendents fighting for the soul of the Parish considered to be very lucrative.
Both factions stuck to their guns as the incoming Pastor, Rev Udeze insisted that he has been posted to the new Parish by the leadership of the church under Rev (Prof.) Paul Emeka and that Rev. Agbo had been transferred to another Parish since May, 2015.
But Rev Agbo resisted, insisting that he was still in-charge of the parish as he was yet to be written by the Rev (Dr.) Okoroafor’s leadership of the church.
Trouble actually started as early as 7am when supporters of both pastors arrived and started sharing different versions of the Sunday school manual in preparation for the main service.
The sharing of the two different manuals led to inflamed passions as supporters of the two factions came close to exchanging blows even before the arrival of their respective pastors.
But when the factional pastors arrived, the situation broke down completely as one of the pastors was seen shoving the other and their members engaged in fisticuffs before police intervened and ordered everybody out of the church.
The Divisional Crime Officer, DCO, (name not known as at press time) was the first to arrival with a team in a police Hilux van and he quickly engaged the leadership of the two factions in a dialogue which dragged on till around 11am when the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Dennis Ayara arrived and took charge of the negotiation.
He then invited the leadership of the two factions to the police station for further discussions.
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