Rev Charles Osueke
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 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.