ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH NIGERIA
The Commission in a letter to the church cited the fact that, there is a pending court appeal over the Leadership tussle between Rev. Chidi Okoroafor and Rev.Prof Paul Emeka who was reportedly suspended over allegation of embezzling 20 Million Naira.
Recall that a group within Assemblies of God Church Nigeria under the aegis of Ambassadors of the Kingdom Suspended the embattled General Superintendent, Rev. Prof. Paul Emeka. The group went further to ask the CAC to delete Prof.Emeka’s name from the church Certificate of Incorporation.
However on April 30th,after allegedly misleading the commission, the group went ahead to float a new church with the name THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH.
By this letter to the group, Africa Thisday wonders if Rev. Prof.Paul Emeka will now be recognized as the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church until Supreme Court rules on the case.
The lingering leadership dispute that has factionalized the Assemblies of God Church Nigeria may have been put to rest as an Enugu High Court ruled on Thursday that Rev Prof Paul Emeka remains the authentic General Superintendent of Church.
It declared null and void, the purported meeting held on March 6 presided over by the retired General Superintendent of the Church, Rev Charles Osueke where he (Emeka) was allegedly suspended from office, even as it ordered those occupying offices illegally on account of the suspension to vacate without further delay.
Ruling in a suit brought by Emeka over the breach of his fundamental human rights, the Court presided over by Justice Anthony Onovo, held that he was never removed as the General Superintendent of the church, stressing that the meeting that took the decision was illegal as it was convoked without regard to the constitution of the church or law.
The Judge also frowned seriously over the refusal of a faction of the church led by the Assistant Superintendent, Rev Chidi Okoroafor to an injunction of the court on the matter of March 8 this year where it had ordered a return to status quo pending the determination of the matter.
On March 6, this year, a meeting by a group of members of the church called Ambassadors of the Kingdom presided over by the retired General Superintendent of the Church; Osueke had met and suspended Rev Emeka from office for alleged corruption and embezzlement.
It went further to appoint Okoroafor the acting General Superintendent and advised branches of the church nationwide to severe dealings with Paul and disallow him from using their pulpits anywhere to preach the gospel.
They further accused him of taking the church to court contrary to the stipulations of the church’s constitution.
Perturbed by the development, Emeka had on March 8 rushed to the Enugu High Court, where he filed a suit challenging the action of the group and order for return of status quo ante.
He had described the group as a breach of his fundamental rights to worship and fair hearing, stressing that the meeting where the action was held was unconstitutional as it did not follow laid down rules.
He further sought an order of court declaring every appointment made by the group as illegal as well as the restoration of his rights as the General Superintendent of the Church.
Ruling on the matter yesterday, Justice Onovo agreed that the March 6 meeting was illegal, null and void, stressing that the retired General Superintendent “usurped the powers of the incumbent General Superintendent to preside over the meeting”. He agreed that Paul Emeka’s constitutional and human rights were grossly violated.
The way about of Chidi Okoroafor is not known as he is believed to be hiding in shame.
The suspended General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church Nigeria, Rev. Paul Emeka, has been arrested and detained by the Nigerian Police Force for alleged certificate forgery and parading himself as a professor of Theology.
Punch Reported that “Rev. Emeka who was interrogated by the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja, on Wednesday, may be arraigned in court on Friday. If convicted, he may be jailed for between 10 and 21 years”.
The cleric was recently sacked as the leader of the AGC in what has been described as a conspiracy of the past leadership to cover up their dirty tracks and install their anointed son Rev. Chidi Okoroafor in place of Paul Emeka.
Following the installation of Rev. Chidi Okoroafor as the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church Nigeria, a dissatisfied member of the church who lives in America hinted our reporters that “Chidi Okoroafor is not a better replacement for Paul Emeka”. She further exposed how Rev. Chidi Okoroafor made sexual advances at her when he travelled to preach in the United States claiming that she has evidence to that effect.
Africa Thisday has made efforts to reach Rev. Chidi Okoroafor to hear his side of the story but our efforts proved abortive.
However, Punch reported that “Rev. Emeka confessed to Police interrogators that he purchased the professorship certificate from one Prof. Okoro, who was deported from the United States to Nigeria”.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, confirmed the detention of the cleric to Punch and his planned arraignment in court for certificate forgery.
He said, “I am aware that Rev. Emeka is with us and he was interrogated on Wednesday by detectives for parading himself as a professor. He may be arraigned in court on Friday.”
The crisis rocking the Assemblies of God Church Nigeria has taken another dimension as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun a probe into the financial transactions of the church following allegations of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds coming from the warring parties.
Top on the alleged scam is the purchase of N220 million property in Germany by the church through a loan obtained from a commercial bank.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that some key members of the church have been interrogated by operatives of the commission while others suspected to be involved in the alleged scam have gone into hiding.
The probe is sequel to a petition by a faction of the church led by the Assistant General Superintendent, Rev Chidi Okoroafor, alleging that the Executive Council of the church was neither privy to the property bought in Germany nor gave approved the purchase.
They alleged that the said property whose purchase was said to have been completed in 2011 was non-existent, adding that its embattled General Superintendent, Prof Paul Emeka, single-handedly handled the transaction.
But in a swift reaction, Emeka said his predecessor, Rev Charles Osueke, commenced the process of purchase of the property with an initial deposit of N20 million, adding that his administration continued with the transaction when it came on board four years ago.
He stated that the transaction was completed from a loan secured from the GT Bank, adding that the entire thing was based on the decision of the executive council of the church.
Source: All Africa.
LATEST IN ASSEMBLIES OF GOD CHURCH, NIGERIA: REV. PAUL EMEKA CRIES OUT. GIVES DETAILS OF THE CRISIS. READ FULL STATEMENT.
In a detailed statement released this morning on the social networks, titled:THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CRISIS IN AGN Rev. Dr, Paul Emeka, the embattled General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church Nigeria gives the full details of the crisis in the church. Here is a copy of the full statement:
I want to begin by clarifying the issue about the suits in the court. I did not sue the church. To sue the church, it must include the General Superintendent, the registered Trustees, and the General Council of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria. I couldn’t go to court against myself. The people who were sued were individuals like the Ambassadors and 11 EC. They were sued in their individual capacity. These people through an illegal General Committee wanted to usurp the General Council, and no reasonable General Superintendent would allow usurpers to come and overturn things like the mess we find ourselves in today.
But even before the purported General Committee of March 6, 2014, I had stopped the suit and it was abandoned. It went out of existence. On that day, the people mischievously still sent somebody to go and search for the abandoned suit, which they read to the people. Based on that illegal act, they immediately pronounced an illegal suspension on the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria. That means that in spite of the fact that it was not a suit against the church, it had even been abandoned. The same thing applies to the human right suit. It is not against the church.
Some other persons sued against what the illegal body did and are still doing. In that, too, they did not sue the church but those individuals who were engaged in these illegal acts against the church. Nobody should be suspended for suing the church because these men who carried out this illegal act were not the church. The people sued are about 19 illegal persons comprising the Ambassadors of the Kingdom and the 11 illegal EC. These are not the church. To sue the Assemblies of God, Nigeria, the suit must include:
• The General Superintendent
• The Registered Trustees of the church
• The General Council
• The Assemblies of God
In other words, it is rather the Assemblies of God, Nigeria, represented by the GS that sued to stop 19 illegal persons who came to destroy the church. I, as the General Superintendent, cannot be expected to keep quiet and watch these intruders come and destroy the church I am shepherding. It is unfortunate that they are trying to make themselves the church and are using the General Council money to defend themselves, but they will pay.
NEW BANK ACCOUNTS
It is equally unfortunate that by now these illegal men have looted and spent more than N150 million of the General Council funds. They keep holding these illegal meetings with the District Superintendents and Treasurers from zone to zone, telling them how they would remit money to them. They have opened new accounts because I keep blocking any existing accounts I discover. They are mercilessly dealing with the General Council funds with which they service their numerous lawyers and members of their think-tank whom they quarter in various places to keep manipulating the church and the court with lies. They even forged my signature on a cheque of N9 million on March 18. Thank God that the bank alerted me promptly.
DEMANDS OF THE HUMAN RIGHT COURT ORDER
1. Rev. Chidi Okoroafor should not parade himself as the acting GS and also should not allow himself to be paraded or introduced as such
2. These zonal meetings that the illegal EC are going about holding are against the court order. Very soon, the law will catch up with them.
3. The District Superintendents should not play hosts to them any longer
4. All panels, meetings, committees, in the name of EC, which is not chaired by me is illegal and therefore stopped
5. If they invite you, do not go or honour it. Demand a written invitation letter signed by either the so-called acting GS or the General Secretary. Such documents will be sent to me for onward submission to the court as evidence of their contempt of the court.
6. They have no right to suspend anybody without me as the chairman of the meetings from which such decisions should emanate
7. This court order is attached here to arm you to resist their unlawful threats
8. Justice is always slow; therefore, do not get discouraged if you don’t see them dealt with immediately. They must surely be stopped.
Their lawyers are specialists in pranks, adjournments, appeals, lies, distortions and misinterpretations, all in a bid to stall this case. But the judges are taking note. The game will soon be over. The illegal group has deceitfully boasted and told people that the court cannot restore the GS or reinstate him. The purpose of the suit is not to reinstate me, because I am not out. I remain the legitimate and incumbent GS of the church, court or no court. The purpose of the suit is to remove the obstructions placed on my way by these illegal men; they are causing distractions to the church.
This human right court order confers full status quo on me. Any meeting not called by me for the EC is illegal. Do not respond to their invitations. If they continue committing contempt of the court order, they will be separately prosecuted for that. If you as a DS or minister continue to yield to their intimidations, you are the one enslaving yourself. If you receive any such threat, reject it and inform me.
If they were genuine, they would not have been doing what they are doing now? They are going from District to District, speaking against Paul Emeka. Their sermons and lectures are laden with defamation and assassination of character of Paul Emeka. After reading a passage, their sermon introduction, body, illustration, conclusion and altar call centre on Paul Emeka. If you ask them what Paul Emeka did, they would get stuck; rather, they come with very puerile allegations, such as he is proud, arrogant, stubborn, unteachable, and incorrigible. They find it hard to tell people specifically what the GS did; all they do is to defame and assassinate his character.
What they had alleged against me before March 6 was not what they discussed in the General Committee. They brought a new one and rushed into suspension of the GS. They could not allow me to call a proper General Committee to find out if I really sued the church. They equally ignored the constitutional provision that states that all that a General Committee could do if for any reason the removal of an officer becomes necessary is to recommend it but wait until the two-thirds of General Council in session ratify it.
THE ISSUE OF SUSPENSION
Suspension as a form of discipline in the Assemblies of God is designed to serve a spiritual and holy purpose and not to achieve political and vindictive purpose. The purported suspension pronounced on me on March 6, 2014 was the meanest exercise of discipline. It was motivated by hatred, god-fatherism, envy and opportunism. It fell short of a legal General Committee.
Quorum was not Formed:
The body that pronounced that suspension was a wrong one. The so-called General Committee did not have up to twenty unit heads out of about 105 unit heads. In other words, it didn’t have a quorum. In the roll call, according to the video, majority of the Districts were absent. Observers were used as voting members. This was in addition to the fact that the process was wrong. The GS is the only one authorized by the constitution to call for a General Committee.
It Consisted of Wrong Participants:
The Ambassadors of the Kingdom filled the hall. The Ambassadors were to participate only if their Districts delegated them to come. But being Ambassadors did not automatically qualify them to be there and do business. Rather, they were supposed to be there as a party having a case with the GS.
Unfortunately, it was the Ambassadors who wrote petitions against me, they judged me, convicted me, condemned me and punished me. They moved the motions to nail me, example, Ihukwumere, Mike Okoro, etc. These were the same people who signed the petition against me. Abuka continued to act as the Legal Adviser, not minding that he was a signatory to the petition written against me as the chairman. The Ambassadors were treated as men that had immunity to indictment and as above the law.
The Retired EC/Officers
The Constitution states that out of all the retired EC members and officers, it is only the retired GS that is a member of the General Committee. In the contrary, all of them that came that day were accorded automatic membership. The matter was so important to them that they brought the retired AGS, the Rev. Franklin Ukomah, from US to participate. These retired men were brought in to see if their presence could lend legitimacy and importance to the illegal meeting. Of course, they desperately needed to do that because that would be the first time to remove a GS. They knew it and plotted it before coming.
The Retired General Superintendent
The retired GS here is Rev. Dr. C. O. Osueke. Rev. Osueke’s actions that day were unethical, unconstitutional and unholy.
Unethical Act: We tell our ministers that it is against ministerial ethics for a minister who has been transferred from a church or retired from a church to be coming back and conniving with the members to inconvenience or sabotage the effort of the incumbent minister. Rev. Osueke not only connived with the members but came in to chair a meeting that removed his successor. It is like a pastor coming back to a church he has been transferred from to chair a church meeting to remove his successor. What an unholy example to our young ministers!
Unconstitutional Act: It beats my imagination that a retired GS would come to chair a meeting that the constitution has no provision for him to chair. The entire General Committee of March 6, 2014 was riddled with constitutional breaches; were it to be accorded an iota of legality, in the absence of the incumbent GS, it would have been the AGS that would chair the General Committee and not the retired GS. Rev. Osueke came because it was an opportunity he had been looking for. Unfortunately, that was a wrong opportunity.
Unholy Act: If Rev. Osueke had a holy intention for the Church, what he should have done was to lead the retired EC/Officers to come and settle the matter between the Ambassadors and the 11 EC on one side and the GS on the other side. He didn’t need to make it a public show. He tries to tell people how much he had tried to settle the matter and I obstinately rejected his moves. He had come to the EC in the same session that the Ambassadors came to speak on the University and AGMBS. The EC interacted with him cordially and it was over. There was no trouble by then.
When he invited me for a private talk which was done in his house, what he told me was that he had been informed by the principal officers of the Evangel University that the Secretary to the NUC told us to return to status quo, and the status quo was that it was the Board of Trustees (BOT) he had chaired before he retired that was legal and that the status quo meant that he should resume being the chairman of the BOT. He meant that the new BOT that I was chairing was a wrong one. He concluded, therefore, that I should call a meeting of the Ambassadors, the Governing Council and the EC to correct these errors. I told him that it wasn’t what the NUC Secretary said. Was this what the retired GS means when he says that he had given me several pieces of advice but I did not heed.
My people have this parable that the rat said that what annoyed him was not that people killed him but that after killing him the killers began to display his dead body before people to watch. If Rev. Osueke had a holy motive, he should have only stopped at chairing the meeting that purportedly suspended me. But beyond that, he tours the zones with the illegal EC to tell people how bad I am. Without scruples, he and others engage in assassination and defamation of my character. Each one of them takes his turn to say unholy and horrible things against a fellow anointed man of God. When you listen to him and others speak against me, you will see a people whose motive is to achieve a political purpose. That political purpose is to get rid of Paul Emeka and replace him with Chidi Okoroafor.
If Rev. Osueke and other participants were convinced that they were going to a normal and holy business, they would not have brought more than five hillucks’ loads of police men, mobile and conventional, the civil defence men and soldiers from Enugu and Umuahia through Abuja connection. They started it all.
I am convinced that the plot to remove me was the unholiest plot of the century. It was anything but holy. It was driven by hate, a long-held desire to revenge a perceived a personal wrong. It was driven by a passionate desire to make good his plot to enthrone his god-son Chidi Okoroafor. It is necessary to inform you, according to their video tape, that even before coming to the meeting, they had decided what to do to me, and the least of these evil plots was to step me down. This they decided to do even when they had not heard from me. During the meeting, they used votes to decide whether I would be stepped down or be suspended. In Assemblies of God, we do not use votes to decide the suspension of a person. You cannot decide the punishment of an adulterer, a thief, etc. with votes. Therefore, if I really had sinned and they knew it, there wouldn’t have been any need to vote to decide which discipline to mete out on me.
It is true that they try to intimidate the unit heads with threats of suspension and to shut their mouths up; one of these days, some of them will speak out, if not confront them. You cannot lead the church with threats and intimidations. They accuse me of being autocratic, but they go about issuing orders and threats to people the way no leaders had ever done. They said that by going around defending myself against their allegations that I was campaigning, but they are going around now to tell the people that Paul Emeka is the worst man on the face of the earth. I handled issues, but they assassinate my character and never tell the people what I have done.
THE STATUS OF THAT SUSPENSION
The suspension pronounced on me on March 6, 2014 lacked merit. The body that administered it cannot be described as a church but a concourse of stal-warts of a political party who were bound by an oath to do evil, to suspend the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria. That meeting was a nullity and an embodiment of illegality and not the holy church of Christ. That was not the church of Assemblies of God. It is like a gathering of a mixed multitude playing in the church premises but suddenly turn around to pronounce suspension on the pastor of the church because he advises them to stop making noise. That is not the legitimate body to suspend that pastor.
ATTEMPTS AT RESOLUTION
Rev. Osueke, the illegal EC, and the Ambassadors have strategically closed all doors for arbitration, reconciliation or resolution of the matter. They rebuff any attempts at creating any forum where people could possibly hear my own side of the story. They want to keep telling multiple falsehoods about me to the people without allowing the people to hear from me. The following are the peace moves that people have made so far which they rebuffed:
1. A group of District Superintendents have gone to the Rtd. GS to broker peace, but he turned them off
2. My wife, myself, three other DSs have gone to him for reconciliation. It was there that I made it clear to him that I did not sue the church. He turned the move down.
3. Enugu PFN church leaders, bishops and elders have gone to Rtd GS, AGS, and GT for the resolution of this matter, but they turned them down
4. Even though Dr. Uma Ukpai erroneously participated in that illegal General Committee, he later made two attempts at reconciliation, but they refused
5. The National PFN leaders have made two attempts to broker peace, but the Rtd GS and other officers turned them down
6. The Managing Director of the Peace Mass Transit, Dr. Sam Onyishi, has made attempts to broker peace, but they refused to cooperate.
7. The Nigerian Evangelical Fellowship (NEF) made attempt to come in, but they blocked them
1. In October last year, the Ambassadors of the Kingdom published their false allegations in the Champion Newspaper stating that I misappropriated N450 million, but nobody told them to stop such
2. In the same month, they published the same in The Nation newspaper, and these leaders enjoyed it
3. They went to Imo radio, Owerri, and announced it, nobody told them that they were washing the church’s dirty linings in the public
4. They went to Abia Broadcasting Station and announced it, and they were happy that Paul Emeka was being scandalized
5. They posted their false accusations on the internet for the world to read that the GS of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Rev. Prof Paul Emeka, misappropriated the church’s money; they all enjoyed it
6. This year they have published these false allegations against me in the Daily Newswatch, ThisDay, Daily Mirror (twice)
I had restrained myself from responding for a long time because I recognized that as the leader of the church I should be reluctant in dealing with the press. But on the other hand, I reasoned that to keep quiet indefinitely and fail to respond to these massive documents of false allegations would be adjudged as an admission of the allegations. I now thought it wise to grant one interview to the papers. I am still going to do another one because as one who ministers to the public, I need to straighten the facts for them to get the truth. By the time they have read these publications, they will know the truth.
TIME TO TAKE A STAND
I wish to use this concluding part to challenge the unit heads, presbyters, ministers and all members to rise up and take a stand. It is in our hand to save this church; both history and our children will not forgive us for keeping silent and watching a group of presumptuous desperados kill this church, damning all consequences and desecrating all decorum.
I also wish to commend those Districts and brave individuals who have come out boldly to identify with this course. Join us to save this church. You don’t need anybody to tell you that those initiators of the General Committee are responsible for the calamities that have befallen the church today. They open their mouths wide to speak about Paul Emeka. To attract sympathy, intermittently, they interrupt their speeches by forcing out shrieks and cupping their eyes tightly to distil tears to convince their listeners that Paul Emeka has not even known Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. I here challenge all of them to an open debate concerning the funds of the church. That day, people will know that nobody can find one kobo of the church in my hand. On the other hand, the church will be surprised that many of my accusers live in glass houses and presumptuously throw stones. Their shady financial deals will be exposed. It is time for them to stop itinerating from one zone to another, talking of standard when they have no standard. There new theme now is “standard.”
1. What is standard when there are massive allegations of immoral advances to ladies from among the leaders?
2. What is standard when the names of ladies have been mentioned to whom sexual advances and compromises have been made from the leaders
3. What is standard when people are mentioning names of places, the young girls, the widows, the married and the unmarried, who have been relating immorally with the so-called leader or leaders? Both ministers and members are rumouring it. Is it how these men will lead a holy church like the Assemblies of God?
4. The people making these accusations of immorality against this leader mention the name of the leader, and they are willing to come out and testify if they are called to do so. What these leaders should do is to invite these accusers and purge themselves of these accusations before talking of standard.
5. What is standard when a leader takes advantage of his being in charge of money to unilaterally make purchases, award contracts, live bigger than his income can afford? Yet, they boldly accuse an innocent man without a single proof. According to the structure we have among the officers regarding bank mandate, among the four officers, a cheque with the signatures of any two is honoured. The GS does not have “A” mandate as to suspect that he can draw money alone. There is no account of the General Council that he is a sole signatory to. How then did he take all those funds that the Ambassadors accuse him of?
6. Corruption and immorality must be dealt with before anyone can talk of standard.
The challenge I throw to all of us today is to rise and save this church. Let us rise and reject coup in the Assemblies of God. God will help the church.
Rev. Prof Paul Emeka
Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
The General Superintendent of Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria Rev. Paul Emeka has defended himself against the allegations of financial misconduct leveled against him by some powerful cabal in the church in this blunt interview with Vanguard Newspaper . Excerpts here:
What is your position on the crisis rocking Assemblies of God Church?
Everything has immediate and remote causes; so in a situation like this, you don’t really know where to start. I must let you know that there was a time we got license to operate the Evangel University. The Board of Trustees employed people and, of course, members of the church, but they began to mis-run the university, making it too expensive for us to continue.
They employed without looking back, they employed without consulting, because, by the law of the university, statutorily as the General Superintendent, I am the Chancellor and the Visitor. I am the proprietor, so I was concerned that they were spending too much. We had 73 students but they employed 135 workers. In their first salary schedule, they brought six million naira. We protested but helplessly paid.
In the second one, it went up to nine million naira and it never came down until it came to thirteen million naira. Each time we called them to give account, they said no, that they were not accountable to the BOT or even the Executive Council of the church, that they were accountable to the Governing Council. So there was a problem, nobody was accountable to us.
So the BOT, in the process of recognising and adopting a pragmatic approach in the running of the university, suspended them and set up a panel to look into how the university was being run. But these people ran to what we call Ambassadors of the Kingdom made up of those my predecessor felt had served the church and gave them the recognition as ‘Ambassadors of the Kingdom’.
It was not meant to be an association; it has no place in our constitution or organogram of the church. But somehow the people (Ambassadors) came together and began to see themselves as a pressure group or the political arm of the church. The Vice Chancellor of the university happens to be a member of the body and he ran to them and called on them to help him out.
They came to the Executive Council (EC) to see us and we asked them to wait, that we will invite the BOT and explain everything to them. They laid their complaints that the young university will soon be closed, that they were not happy that the people were suspended and didn’t care to know the reason for our action.
Few weeks later, they came up with a write up that they addressed to the Presbyters (these are pastors in Assemblies of God and are up to 2,000 in number). They didn’t address it to the EC members which is the highest decision making body of the church. This was where trouble started. All of us had different approach towards resolving it.
They came up with so many allegations that didn’t have to do with the university but other things. They alleged many things against me. For instance, they talked about a house we bought in Germany. The allegation associated with the Germany house purchase are very shapeless, the story keeps increasing by the day. They also alleged that we created the Assemblies of God Ministers Benefit Fund.
The pastors every month make contributions to that fund and, each time a pastor retires, he is given what he contributed with interest and the balance remains with the church. They also alleged that I made a pledge to the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria without consulting the EC, that my brother-in-law was the one hiring equipment and being given two million naira each time we were to do a programme and helping himself from that.
The truth is not far-fetched because the purchase of the project in Germany was started by my predecessor, the advance which was twenty million naira was paid by the General Treasurer who was serving under him and later on there was this election that brought me in when he retired and we continued from there.
The church obtained a loan from GTB and it was the responsibility of the General Treasurer and the accountants there to pay and they paid and kept remitting the money to the company until the transaction was completed. I didn’t have anything to do with the money, all I did was to go and see if it was true, the General Secretary equally went and the Assistant General Superintendent also went, all these things are in our minutes.
But when they were making their allegations, they didn’t do them as if all these things are in the minutes; they talked as if I woke up one day and carried the money to buy a property in Germany.
Retired pastors fund
The allegation on the Pastors Benefit Fund started about 16 years ago. Each pastor contributes automatically to the fund and goes home with what he contributed on retirement with interest. But I discovered that each month, all the ministers of Assemblies of God contribute an average of thirty million naira but the ministers who retire in a given month don’t take up to six million naira and there was a Board set up to use that money and invest.
It was from there that we built our bank called AG Homes; that continued for many years until I became the General Superintendent. I proposed before the EC that here you have one man managing the millions of naira that the ministers are contributing and here you have the bank. He is the Managing Director of the bank as well as the Chairman of the Board, that it would be nice that we separate it so that he will continue to be the Chairman of the Board and another person the Managing Director. The Committee bought the idea.
I equally said that the ministers retiring, and given what they contributed with interest and the money remains there, they are not coming back at any time to benefit from the investment that their money was put into. I said the only way these people could have a share is that since this body doesn’t give them pension and since what the General Council pays to them as pension monthly is too small, we should do something to enhance their living standard from the money.
By the time the former Board was handing over, they had already about N2.5billion and I said it was possible to take part of this money to increase the pastors pension so that they don’t suffer too much. They accepted and adopted it unanimously. I proposed N350 million but they handed over about N1.5million and said they had invested the rest.
We said they should give us N200million so that we start helping the retired pastors and they sent it from AG Homes to the General Council account. It did not go to my personal account. The General Treasurer received it, receipted for it; but when they were writing, they started alleging and talking as if I had direct access to the money and using it on my own. It was credited to the General Council account.
Donation to PFN
On the allegation about making donation to the PFN, we went to the NAC (National Advisory Committee) meeting of the PFN, all the church leaders were there. So there was this spontaneous fund raised, people were pledging fifty to one hundred million, but, on behalf the Assemblies of God, I pledged ten million naira and that was not to say I paid it immediately.
When I came back, I brought the matter before the Executive Council meeting and they approved that the General Treasurer should pay. Nobody gave me cash, it was a cheque credited in the account of the PFN. But here they said the Executive Committee did not know about it even when they paid willingly.
Another allegation about my in-law hiring equipment; the truth of the matter is that whenever we are doing a big programme, there is a central committee that will meet with sub-committees.
At a time, the committee told us they now had a company owned by one Okezie and that they supply power and sound to the government at Okpara Square each time they had a programme and that if we would hire them, they would do us good.
We told them to bring them and they brought them. The central planning committee would always haggle the price with this man depending on the nature and duration of the programme.
We would agree and immediately we agree on price the manager of the company would go to the accounts office where he would be given a cheque and that ends it.
Nobody gives me the money and that is the structure of the church. The General Superintendent does not have anything to do with money, we take the decisions and it is the responsibility of the General Treasurer with the people working under him to take action. Now when the Ambassadors brought their complaints and started alleging all these things, they were not in a position to know since they are not in the organogram of the church.
It was somebody that made them to know and they came up with these allegations that never existed. They are alleging over N450 million.
The Executive Committee members working with me who know when all these decisions were taken, I thought they would come to my aid when these allegations were raised but some of them were of the opinion that these Ambassadors will be brought and they would be made to repeat the allegations and I would answer.
That continued until a certain time when they appealed to the General Committee. The General Committee, judicially speaking, is higher than the Executive Committee, the Executive Committee makes decisions. The General Committee is called twice a year but if a General Committee is needed, the General Superintendent can on his own call it but if it is called without the General Superintendent, the constitution says they will obtain 33 percent signatories of the members of the General Committee and they will lay it on the table of the General
Superintendent and he will invite the people for the General Committee and he equally will determine the terms to be discussed with members of the Executive Committee. Now they called the General Committee without respect to this process. They were not able to obtain it because the constitution says that the General Committee will serve as a court of final appeal and I told them that if the General Committee will serve as the final appeal, it means that the Executive Committee will serve as court of first appeal.
First of all, we have to look at it so that if the General Committee sits, we will now tell them the extent to which we have looked at it. But I never knew there was a political plan to be hatched that day. They never allowed me to execute it as constitution demands and that was on the 6th of March. I told them I wouldn’t attend because it fell short of constitutional demands.
There were text messages here and there but, before that day, I had called the police to say I was not comfortable with the meeting and asked them to stop it but the police said no, they didn’t have the right to stop a private meeting of the church, that all I needed to do was to obtain a court order to stop it.
I invited my lawyer to prepare a court order to the effect. It was not to be a court order against the Assemblies of God but against certain individuals I perceived were responsible for the General Committee. But along the line, I called the lawyer and said I would want to terminate the suit, that I would be misunderstood and I asked him to leave it.
But on that very day of the meeting, somebody from among the Ambassadors and the eleven Executive Committee members standing against me was sent to go to court and look for the abandoned suit and he brought it to the General Committee.
In that meeting, the Legal Adviser of the church was the one who read it that the General Superintendent had taken the church to court and should be suspended. But some others said he didn’t take the church to court, because the Trustees are not there, the General Council is not there and Assemblies of God is not there but those there are individuals, but they wouldn’t listen.
He also failed to let them know that the suit was abandoned and the court wrote to that effect, that the suit was not in existence. Nobody was served any summons.
What is happening is that there is a group of men in the church whose interests became threatened and they felt I was the one anchoring it.
But when I was making the reorganization, I didn’t deliberately do it to step on any toe, I was doing what I felt would help the church to go forward because to me, I didn’t feel comfortable that every day you stand before the church to go and raise fund, instead of people hearing sermons, you are telling them about money whereas we have ventures here and there that could yield money for the church.
Without worrying people, our offering and tithe should be enough. That was my aim. We had money. If you invest N250 million very well, it will increase the revenue of the church. As at last year, the pastors fund generated N2.5 billion from the time that scheme started, all that had been paid to the pastors was only N123million in 16 years, up to N300 million and more was spent on office.
The purpose of that scheme was not to run office or other things but to help our pastors in retirement but many of them are suffering and we felt free to our conscience to allow them in that state and pay lip service to our holiness. They said Rev Chidi Okoroafor becomes the acting General Superintendent. This is what has been rocking Assemblies of God.
But we learnt some members of the church later went to court. Is this true?
I didn’t go to court. Dr Nathan Udeze and another one who is a lecturer in one of our Bible schools, Dr Ekenedilichukwu Offodile, they didn’t like what happened, they went to court and sued and the nature of the suit was in representative capacity, not only for the two of them but for any other person who did not like what happened.
We went to the court for hearing three times and the court said, return to status quo and, by this I am still the General Superintendent and Chidi remains the assistant and there is nothing like acting. Yet our people have decided to ignore the court order.
This is what is happening and on daily basis they keep writing against me. In the Assemblies of God, the maximum punishment is suspension; after suspending me, you say you are setting up a panel, so when the committee must have concluded its work, what other punishment will you give me? If you have allegations of fraud, the police is there to look into it.
How do you feel about what is happening and at what point can you leave it for God. What will be your advice to members?
I have already left it for God. What I am doing is simply what God wants me to do. I have tried my best; a man does not praise himself. I have not laid bad example – morally speaking or with money. You cannot say that you found Paul Emeka messing up with women or in fact that you suspect him at all.
The salary I take is enough for me; forget about what they are writing about. Think about it, in a corporate organization, you cannot steal money alone, you cannot go and take half a million alone, there is a Treasurer and you cannot in the name of General Superintendent pounce on people’s money and you begin to cart it away. The national leadership of PFN has come and they keep turning them here and there. They should tell the world what is happening.
Somebody is retired and wants to be the father of the Assemblies of God and that is why I believe it cannot last for long because the people do not like it and God himself does not like what is happening. But we will not chicken out for them to continue even if I am out.
Sometime last month, Africa Thisday received a report from a Nigerian christian in United States of America of how Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor who is currently acting as the General Superintendent of the church had put pressure on her for sex. She had registered her dissatisfaction about the integrity of the One time Umuahia District Superintendent whose tenure was filled with sexual scandals.