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Assemblies of God Church factions clash in Abuja

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri

ABUJA—The crisis  rocking Assemblies of God Church, AGC, worsened weekend, as members of a branch of the church in Abuja clashed over leadership tussle involving two senior pastors laying claim to the District Superintendent position.

It took the intervention of Police officers summoned by neighbours to restore normalcy in the church’s premises 55, Accra Road, Wuse Zone 5, Abuja.

The feuding church members, who were poking each other with fingers, were still engaged in a heated war of words when a Police patrol team arrived the scene.

Factions

Problem started after the District Superintendent of the church, Rev. Nicholas Anyanwu, who was allegedly suspended from office by a faction of the church, was prevented from holding a press conference inside the church premises.

Anyanwu was said to have been suspended by a faction of the church that recognises Rev. Chidi Okoroafor as their General Superintendent.

The embattled pastor, however, belongs to another faction that recognises one Rev. Paul Emeka as the authentic spiritual leader of the church.

Meanwhile, while Anyanwu was getting set to address newsmen on the outcome of a court case he instituted and won against his suspension, members loyal to Rev. Okoroafor, led by another senior pastor, stormed the church premises and ordered everyone out.

While journalists scampered for safety, the two factions poured invectives on each other.

The invading group insisted that Rev. Anyanwu would not be allowed to brief the press within the church compound because he was not their District Superintendent.

The court

Sequel to the commotion, counsel to the Anyanwu-led faction, Mr. John Odiba, persuaded his client to move the press conference to a compound behind the church.

Odiba displayed an endorsed copy of a judgment delivered by Justice Othman Musa of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, which he said settled the protracted crisis in the church in Abuja.

The judgment, delivered on July 5, 2018, a copy of which was sighted by Vanguard, emanated from a suit filed by Rev. Anyanwu.

Respondents in the suit were Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor, Assistant General Superintendent; Rev. Ngene, Assistant District Superintendent; Rev. Tony Ese, District Secretary; Rev. Godwin Agada; District Treasurer; Rev. Ugwu, District Presbyter; Rev. Asuata, Presbyter; Rev. Adoga, Presbyter, and Rev. Dr. Amaowoh, Chairman of Investigation Panel.

Others included Rev. Anyimson, Secretary of Investigation Panel; Rev. Dr. Mbe, member, Investigation Panel; Rev. Dr. John Ikoni, General Secretary, and Bon James.

The judgment

In the judgment, Justice Musa quashed Anyanwu’s suspension on the premise that he was not granted fair hearing as guaranteed under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

The court declared, among others, that the allegations of mismanagement of funds, stealing and/or conversion of church funds by the respondents against the applicant constitutes criminal offenced for which the applicant ought to be arraigned and tried by a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

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