Ugwuanyi Intervenes in Assemblies Of God Church Leadership CrisisFeatured, Latest News, News Thursday, April 6th, 2017
By IGNATIUS OKPARA, Enugu
…As Factional Leader, Rev. Emeka Accuses Enugu CP of Bias
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state, South-East Nigeria, has intervened in the protracted crisis rocking the Assemblies of God Church, Nigeria, directing security men to allow leaders and members of the church who gathered at their New Haven Enugu branch for a prayer meeting to hold their function without molestation or disruption.
The Governor, handed down the directive Wednesday when dozens of the church’s worshippers loyal to the camp of the factional General Superintendent of the Church, Rev. Prof. Paul Emeka, staged a peaceful protest at Government House Enugu.
African Examiner reports that the Church leaders and members, made up of District Superintendents and pastors from across Nigeria had gathered to hold a meeting at the New Haven Enugu branch of the Church, which also serves as the District Headquarters, Enugu; but were forcefully prevented from holding their prayers by over 50 policemen who were armed to the teeth.
The policemen told the church leaders that they were acting on the directive of the State Commissioner of Police, Danmallam Mohammed, a development that provoked the protest march to the Government House by the church leaders and members.
Ugwuanyi, while addressing the protesters, Pointed out that since he became the governor of the state, he had always welcomed every group, stressing that it should be taken that he does not belong to or support any of the factions of the church.
“So, you people should go back to the church, I will make arrangement for you to go back through the CSO (Chief Security Officer), and complete your meeting.
“Tomorrow, I will make arrangement for you people to dialogue with the Commissioner of Police, and the outcome of the dialogue will determine government involvement in the matter, whether to call a security council meeting or not,” he stated.
The Governor also appealed to the church members to always follow the path of peace towards the resolution of the crisis.
Leader of the protesting group, Rev. Sunday Palmer, who is the District Secretary, Sapele District in Delta State, South- South Nigeria and also the National Director of Easter Retreat Conference of the church, lamented what he called biased involvement of the police in the matter.
According to him, the police had no legal authority to prevent a lawful and peaceful assembly of a religious group in their church.
Addressing members and leaders of the church later after they were allowed by the police to hold their meeting based on the Governor’s directive, the factional General Superintendent, Rev. Paul Emeka explained that the essence of the meeting was to inform the members that the national secretariat of the Church at N0.8 Ozubulu Street, Independence Layout Enugu which the church handed over to him in trust had been forcefully taken by the factional group led by Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor.
Rev. Emeka, alleged that the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State, Mr. Dan Mallam Mohammed paved the way for illegal installation of his opponent, Rev. Chidi Okoroafor without any legal authority.
When contacted the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Enugu Police Command, Ebere Amaraizu, stated that Police will not stop any group from holding religious meeting.
He said: “We don’t trample on the right of people for religious worship, but we don’t know the original intention of the meeting.
“And the action of the police might even be in the interest of the people because you know that the other group may take action against the meeting, so our duty is to proactively take actions to prevent breakdown of law and order” he stated.
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