The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria, Thursday, called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to avoid being blackmailed into sanctioning illegality by the Rev. Paul Emeka led group.
However, in a statement issued by General Council, under Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor’s leadership, it urged the Governor not to be intimidated into taking actions that would amount to contempt of court.
While applauding Ugwuanyi’s disposition on the matter in line with exisiting judicial pronouncements, the Church condemned Emeka’s threat of violence and urged the security agencies to do the needful.
The statement, signed by the General Secretary of the Church, Rev. Dr. Godwin Amaowoh, was entitled: “PRESS RELEASE BY THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD
NIGERIA ON REV. PAUL EMEKA’S THREATS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST THE CHURCH AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN ENUGU STATE.”
It read: “The attention of the Incorporated Trustees of the Assemblies of God Nigeria has been drawn to the recent ignoble attempt by Rev. Paul Emeka to blackmail the Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi into joining Rev Emeka’s wicked and ruinous war against the Assemblies of God Nigeria.
Rev Paul Emeka’s recent statement to the press about his plan to unleash mayhem in Enugu State if the Enugu State Governor failed to assist him seize the national headquarters of the Assemblies of God Nigeria located in Enugu, is putting it mildly, an attempt to blackmail the Governor and cause him to lend undeserved support to the dismissed former head of the church in his continuing war against the Assemblies of God Nigeria.
Since 2014 Rev Emeka has applied violence against church leaders and members with impunity. On 2Oth May 2014 Rev Emeka’s thugs invaded the national office of the church and beat up her national officers who were holding a national executive committee meeting. Many of the officers received various injuries and one of them was forced to jump from the first floor of the building as a result of the ferocious attack of the thugs.
Rev Emeka and his followers have consistently maintained such violent disposition ever since. His agents have been responsible for countless attacks on many members and pastors of the church often during Sunday worship.
These attacks have occurred in many of the branches of the church at Uwani, Garriki and many places in Enugu, Saminaka in Kaduna State, Jos in Plateau State and in Obubra Cross River State where they burnt down a church building while the resident pastor and his family barely escaped with their lives. We have records of documented complaints to the police about these violent acts. Many of Rev Emeka’s followers are either facing various criminal charges in court for such lawless acts or they have been convicted for their crimes against these innocent citizens and the church.
The Church is not surprised therefore, that Rev Emeka is now threatening to unleash more mayhem against the church and her members in Enugu State if his desires against the church are not supported and approved by the State Governor.
Similarly, we have observed Rev Emeka openly and severally, and in particularly very condescending and disparaging tone, castigate the decision of the Supreme Court in the court case he instituted against the church for the solely reason that the apex court of the land rightly dismissed his appeal in that court for lacking any merit.
It is on record that Rev Paul Emeka filed a suit in High Court of Enugu State in April 2014 claiming, among others, to be entitled to the office of General Superintendent of the church and N500m as damages for his removal from office.
The High Court gave judgment in his favour and upon appeal by the church; the Court of Appeal set aside the judgment of the High Court and held that:
The meeting of 6th March 2014 whereby the church removed and dismissed Rev Paul Emeka from the office of General Superintendent of the church was legitimate and validly held.
The dismissal of Rev Paul Emeka from the church was valid and legitimate.
The office of General Superintendent of the church is not a personal right of Rev Paul Emeka and he cannot enforce that right in any court of law.
And that Rev Emeka was elected into that office in 2010 for a term of four years which expired in 2014.
The judgment of the Court of Appeal above was upheld by the Supreme Court on 24th February 2017. However, rather than respect the judgments of these superior courts of the land, Rev Emeka has chosen to parade and flaunt two interpretations of the Supreme Court judgment purportedly prepared by the attorneys general of Kaduna and Enugu States respectively. Apparently, these law officers did not have the benefit of reading the judgment of the Court of Appeal which was affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Rev Emeka also alleged that he has filed a fresh suit in the High Court of Enugu State. And having filed the aforesaid fresh suit in the High Court to protect some anomalous or perceived rights, Rev Emeka now wants the Governor to help him enforce these imaginary rights against the church.
In other words if Rev Emeka did not have his way then he would unleash mayhem on the church and thereby endanger the lives of innocent citizens of Enugu State.
Rev Emeka’s private interpretations notwitstanding, we stand by the decision of the aforesaid superior courts that Rev Emeka has no rights in the church that can be protected by the courts. We state unequivocally that the new suits purportedly filed by Rev Emeka are a mere ruse to further befuddle and mislead the hapless people who follow him.
For clarity purposes we restate that Rev Emeka has no right whatsoever to the national headquarters of the church. It is the height of deceit and sophistry for him to pretend to have any enforceable rights whatsoever over the church or any of her assets. And to use such sophistry in this crass attempt to blackmail the Governor of Enugu State is rather incredible.
Rev Emeka also claimed to have an ex parte order against the police. This again is false and deceitful. Three members of his gang went behind the police to secretly obtain an order in their personal names. Rev Emeka is not a party to that suit and cannot acquire any right under it.
However, in his usual way Rev Emeka did not tell the press that he is not a party to the Federal High Court order he is flaunting about; neither does it include the names of his other follows. An order granted in favour of three persons cannot be the excuse for the type of mob action that Rev Emeka is now threatening to use against the church if the Governor failed to do his bidding.
We hereby state unequivocally that apart from being dismissed as a pastor and excommunicated as a member of the church, Rev Paul Emeka ceased to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the church from 30th April 2015 when the Corporate Affairs Commission removed him from that body. Rev Emeka is not a member, pastor or officer of the church and he cannot lay claim to such privileges of membership by threat of violence or intimidation. He has been excommunicated from the church which is a legitimate and fitting punishment the church can impose on any man who takes upon himself the mantle of the antichrist in the church.
It is on record that the church was founded in Nigeria in 1934. Rev Emeka was purportedly born in 1958 and he became a pastor in the church in 1976 when he gained admission into one of the church’s bible schools.
Rev Emeka is a mere joiner like other persons in the church. He does not have any special right to any property of the church. He is now like the proverbial harlot who would have the baby decapitated, rather than have him alive with his true mother.
Rev Emeka is determined to ruin the church if he is prevented from ruling over the church. Rev Emeka has brazenly introduced ethno-tribal sentiments into his war against the church and has openly elicited help and support from unsuspecting but sincere individuals on the basis of ethnicity alone.
Nevertheless, we commend His Excellency Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who has ably discharged his duties to protect all citizens of Enugu State regardless of whether they are indigenes of Enugu State or not. We implore His Excellency not to yield to this cheap blackmail being peddled by Rev Paul Emeka.
The teeming population of the membership of the church in Enugu State has implicit confidence in the Governor to toe the line of justice and fair play in the matter concerning the church.
Therefore, we expect the Governor, the police, the DSS and all other security agencies in Nigeria and in Enugu State in particular, to continue to guarantee the peace and safety of the members and properties of the Assemblies of God Nigeria found within their jurisdiction.
The church is an institution for peace. She is a law abiding citizen of the country and deserves the protection of the government from lawless persons.
If Rev Emeka has returned to the courts he should be vigorously discouraged from all acts of lawlessness and rather he should be encouraged to patiently await the inevitable outcome of his cases in court.”