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Assemblies of God Church breaks into factions

– Maintains two separate bank accounts

The leadership crises rocking the Assemblies of God Church in Nigeria has polarised the ministry into two. following the dismissal and ex-communication of the former General Superintendent of the church, Rev. Dr. Paul Emeka by a faction loyal to the newly appointed General Superintendent,  Rev. Chidi Okoroafor, for alleged breach of the constitution and peace of the church. The ministry has been plagued with internal wrangling and bickering.

Rev. Paul Emeka

Rev. Paul Emeka

ENCOMIUM Weekly reliably gathered that the sacked General Superintendent is still manning the affairs from the church’s main headquarters in Enugu while the factional party are using Ebonyi as their own stronghold.

Consequently, we were informed that the crises might split the church into one part bearing a new name.

According to our source, the two gladiators have refused to shift ground threatening to rather change names than reconciling.

ENCOMIUM Weekly reliably gathered that the church account too has been split into two and this is having adverse effect on the running of the ministry. Some of the arms of the ministry such as their school have been grounded due to the fight between the two gladiators.

Things fell apart in the once united Assemblies of God Church over leadership tussle alleged fraud and financial misappropriation of church funds. The crises rocking the ministry got messier on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, when loyalists of the sacked General Superintendent of the church, Rev. Prof. Paul Emeka clashed with loyalists of the acting General Superintendent, Rev. Chidi Okoroafor locking him out of the church.

The church, ENCOMIUM Weekly reliably gathered, has not known peace since few members of the executive committee referred to as ambassadors of the kingdom ousted the general superintendent on March 6, 2014, on allegation of defrauding the church to the tune of N450 million. They suspended Rev. Paul Emeka, over allegation of misconduct, highhandedness, financial misappropriation and sundry matters.

In retaliation, the suspended general overseer exposed their alleged fraudulent activities.

In a swift reaction, the suspended GS has described his ordeal as the handiwork of his enemies in the church as well as a political and ethnic gang-up against him, noting that such blackmail was aimed at tarnishing his image but believes that he would surmount his perceived detractors.

The embattled General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church, Rev Prof Paul Emeka had alleged that over N150 million was looted by the Rev Chidi Okoroafor led illegal executive just within six weeks of his purported suspension and that by now it is clocking close to half a billion naira.

Rev Paul Emeka claimed that within six weeks of his purported suspension, the usurpers have already looted about N150 million and even went as far as forging his signature on a cheque of N9 million.

Consequently, the factional party in November 2014, gathered 7000 delegates and sacked him.

The church also sacked and ex-communicated Raphael Itotoh, Nicholas Anyanwu, Philips Efejunti, Roland Best, Kayode Shinkale, Bulus Goni, Baba Fada and others.

They were sacked during the 35th quadrennial general meeting of the church held at Evangel Camp along Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway, Okpoto, Ebonyi State, where the council urged Rev. Paul Emeka and others to hand over the property of Assemblies of God to the elected leaders.

While announcing the removal of its spiritual leader and dismissal from the ministry with his pastoral certificate withdrawn, the church also announced the emergence of Rev. Chidi Okoroafor as the new General Superintendent of the church.

He was elected alongside three other principal officials and 15 zonal representatives to form the new executive council of the church for the next four years.

The decisions were part of the resolutions reached by over 7,000 delegates of the church at the General Council Meeting at its Evangel Camp, Okpoko in Ebonyi State.

At the council meeting, held every four years, the delegates reportedly decided on the excommunication after concluding that the ex-spiritual leader “Had dragged the name of the church in the mud by instituting legal actions and using law enforcement agencies to witch-hunt some of their leaders.”

According to the legal adviser of the church, Barrister Abuka, the dismissal of Rev. Emeka was necessary and had paved the way to institute litigation against the former General Superintendent, who was alleged to be “Making moves with some members to take over the church.”

Rev. Chidi Okoroafor

Rev. Chidi Okoroafor

In a motion moved by Rev. Peter Okwor from Ijebu District and seconded by Rev. Cyril Anikwe from Nnewi District, the General Council in session unanimously confirmed and ratified the decision of the General Committee on March 6, 2014, to dismiss Rev. Paul Emeka as a pastor and suspended him as a member for taking the church to court and breaching the constitution and bye law of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.

The general council in session also unanimously condemned all the alleged actions of Paul Emeka, namely, harassing church leaders with police and thugs, malicious and damaging publications in newspapers as well as lifting the suspension of those that breached the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria.

The church also claimed he was colluding with other alleged collaborators believed to be working at cross-purposes with the church’s leadership.

Commenting on the crisis rocking the church, Okoroafor said the measures were necessary to remove those whom he described as “Dissidents bent on frustrating progress” in the church.

He confirmed that legal actions would be taken against Rev. Emeka and others seeking to take over the church through law suits.

Justifying the reasons for this, the new General Superintendent said, “We cannot spiritualise legal issues. You can’t just be praying when somebody is taking you to court. We would no long keep quiet and allow our property taken over or our accounts fraudulently run by them.”

He pointed out that the church had identified constitutional loopholes that Emeka and others capitalised on, stating that such sections would be properly addressed when an emergency council meeting holds next year.

Information available to ENCOMIUM Weekly revealed that the crises had degenerated to a legal action and we confirmed that the issue is currently before the Enugu and Abakaliki court. Also a petition had been filed by the church to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

However, the excommunicated General Superintendent on Sunday, November 5, 2014, said he still remains the authentic General Superintendent.

– FEMI OYEWALE

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