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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Serious Drama As Assemblies Of God Members Clash In Church Over Headship Tussle

 
Members of the Assemblies of God Church, Wuse Zone 5, on Saturday engaged in war of words as a result of the protracted leadership tussle that has overtly divided the church into two opposing factions.
 
The clash was between members loyal to Reverend Nicholas Anyanwu, the District Suprintendent of the Assemblies of God Church and others that recognise Reverend Chidi Okoroafor, the Assistant General  Suprintendent as their spiritual leader.
 
At the premises of the church in Wuse, the members loyal to Rev. Okoroafor trouped out enmasse and disrupted a planned press briefing called at the instance of Rev. Anyanwu’s camp.
 
They insisted that Rev. Anyanwu would not be allowed to brief the press within the church compound because he was not their District Suprintendent. 

As tension heightened as a result of the exchange of words, threats and pouring of invectives by the warring factions, it took the wisdom of Rev. Anyanwu to move the media briefing to his compound, still within the church vicinity.
 
Meanwhile, addressing judiciary correspondents, John Odiba, counsel to the Anyanwu faction, said the crisis rocking the party has been resolved amicably through instrumentality of the law.
 
Odiba, flanked by Anyanwu and other senior pastors of the church, displayed an endorsed copy of a judgement delivered by Justice Othman Musa, of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, which had settled the lingering intra denominational crisis.
 
The judgement, delivered on July 5, 2018, which was seen by Daily Independent, emanated from a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/1889/2014, filed by Rev. Anyanwu.
 
Respondents in the suit were Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor (Asst. Gen. Superintendent), Rev. Ngene (Asst. 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 Esq.
 
In the judgement, Justice Musa said the documentary evidences filed by the applicant spoke for “itself upon which the court hold credence to”.

“In my humble considered view, the applicant has indeed proved its case in support to his application.

“To that end therefore, I disagreed with the whole submissions of the respondents and dismiss same, and therefore entered judgment for the applicant” Justice Musa said.
 
Consequently, the court granted an order enforcing and restoring to the applicant his fundamental right to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, which right is being threatened with violation by the respondent.
 
The court declared that the allegations of mis-management of funds, stealing and/or conversion of Church funds by the respondents against the applicant constitutes criminal offences for which the applicant ought to be arraigned tried by a court of competent jurisdiction.
 
Also, Justice Musa declared that by the provisions of Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the offences of mismanagement of funds, stealing and/ or conversion of Church funds and such other criminal offences as alleged by the respondents against the applicant are not triable by an administrative panel of inquiry or investigative panel as set up by the respondents to try the applicant, but are triabie only by a tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction set up by law.
 
It was equally declared that the act of the respondents in constituting an investigative panel to investigate / try the aforesaid allegation against the applicant that constitute criminal offences, triable only by a tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.
 
The court also declared that by the provision of Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, “the applicant is presumed innocent of the allegations against him by the respondents which constitute criminal offences and for which the applicant is yet to be arraigned and / or found guilty by a tribunal or court of competent jurisdiction set up by law”.
 
It was equally declared that the acts of the respondents in constituting an investigative panel to make disciplinary hndings/ recommendations against the applicant in respect of the aforesaid allegations without the consent and in flagrant disregard of the directives of the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Nigeria was illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and runs contrary to the provisions of the registered Constitution and Bye-laws of Assemblies of God Nigeria.
 
The court ordered that, declaring the decision of the respondents at the Abuja East District Headquarters, Area 11, Garki, Abuja on the 16th day of May, 2014, purportedly suspending the applicant as the District Superintendent of the Abuja District of the Assemblies of God Nigeria and the subsequent oral public announcement through the various Pastors of the Assemblies of God Churches in Abuja on the 18th day of May 2014, of the suspension of the applicant as the District Superintendent of the Abuja District of the Assemblies of God Nigeria, “as illegal, unconstitutional, null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever”.
 
More so, Justice Musa awarded the sum of N2million against the respondents for the malicious publications in the Daily Sun of Thursday June 2014, titled “DISCLAIMER” purportedly publicly dismissing the applicant as a minister and member of The Assemblies Of God Church Nigeria in flagrant breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed by Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution. 
 
Culled From: Daily Independent

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