Assemblies of God members fight over church property

Chidi Okoroafor

The crisis that engulfed the Assemblies of God Church Nigeria in the past three years appears not to be over despite the Supreme Court ruling.

Yesterday, members of the church loyal to the two leaders, Rev Paul Emeka and Rev. Chidi Okoroafor in various branches in Enugu who converged for Sunday worship could not do so following contentions that arose among them over the “rightful’’ group to possess the church property.

While those loyal to Emeka had claimed that the Supreme Court in her judgment last Friday in the suit filed by him (Emeka) declined to remove him as the General Superintendent, those loyal to Okoroafor insisted that he (Okoroafor) remains the ‘authentic’ general superintendent of the church, since the apex court struck out Emeka’s suit challenging his removal.

It took the intervention of the police in Enugu yesterday for normalcy to be restored in some branches of the church as members struggled to take possession of the church buildings and other property.

At the New Haven branch of the church, the police had locked out the worshippers, as members had engaged in a free for all. The police it was gathered have however invited the leaders and lawyers of both factions today for talks on ways of resolving the impasse.
On Friday, the police had sealed off the national secretariat of the church on Independence layout, Enugu, occupied by Emeka to forestall break down of law and order. It was later learnt that the police reopened the premises to Emeka, apparently following the apex court decision.

Emeka in his reaction claimed that the Supreme Court ruling neither removed him nor pronounced anybody as the General Superintendent of the church, stressing that the action of the Okoroafor group was uncalled for.

He stated that the fact that his suit at the Supreme Court was “struck out” does not mean that the matter was over, stressing that the court did not go into the issues under contention based on what it observed as the wrong manner in which the matter was brought.

But Okoroafor, who addressed newsmen shortly after his return from South Africa, extended an olive branch to the warring factions, saying that there was no victor no vanquished.

He stated that the leadership of the church will be meeting to look at the judgment and afterwards roll out the next plan, adding that the church “is a special church with a unique mission.’’

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