The Assemblies of God is a global movement with its international headquarter in Springfield, USA. It operates in over 150 countries with a global population 162 million as at 2015. Each national church is autonomous but affiliated to World Assemblies of God Fellowship. Nigeria has the biggest Assemblies of God membership population in Africa and is conducting mission in many African countries and even, Asia, Europe and America.
In Nigeria, it is the foremost Pentecostal Church and started in 1934 as Church of Jesus Christ before changing its name to Assemblies of God in order to become part of global family of Assemblies of God. Currently, it has over 15,000 branches with fulltime pastors in Nigeria with over 120 administrative units spread in every state of the federation.
The Church is highly democratic at all levels and leadership usually emerges through election by lay delegates and all ordained ministers. The structure of the Church is as follows; the Church, Section, District and the General Council in that order. Leadership is collective at all levels. Under the Church’s constitution and byelaw, power resides with organs while offices have duties.
The highest organ of the church is the General-Council in Session which holds every 4 years. The day-to-day administration of the church is piloted by the 4-man Committee comprising the General Superintendent, Assistant General Superintendent, General Secretary and General Treasurer. These are part of the large Executive Committee membership deliberately configured to cover covering all the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
The General Committee is an organ that is convened whenever there is an intractable problem that the Executive Committee can not resolve or whenever there is a crisis or deadlock within the said Executive Committee that is not resolvable by them.
Rev. Paul Emeka was elected as the General Superintendent in year 2010 and immediately he was sworn in, he started to behave as a pastor/founder in clear disregard of the Constitution and Byelaws of the Church. He carried out activities without tabling it before the Executive Committee Members. He became power drunk and started disbursing and misapplying the monies of the church in most cases in utter disregard of laid-down principles of the church. He insisted on being addressed as a Professor even when he was not one. That criminal act is being redressed in a court in Abuja. He surrounded himself with bootlickers and praise singers contrary to the age-long tradition of Assemblies of God, Nigeria known for truth and integrity.
Specifically, he singled-handedly used the Church’s fund to purchase a N200,000,000.00 worth of piece of property in Germany in the name of persons not known to or approved by Assemblies of Nigeria. He unilaterally invaded the church ministers’ benefit funds and took away over N200,000,000.00 He sacked the Board of Trustees of the Evangel University, sacked its Council and appointed himself the visitor, chairman of Board of Trustees, Chairman of the University Council, Chairman of Tenders Board, etc. He dished out Church’s fund to anyone he fancied. He began to meddle with district elections to upstage those he perceived as not bowing before his throne. He assumed a flamboyance never seen in Assemblies of God and moved with politician-style convoys, dressed in outrageous manners and set tongues wagging everywhere.
When he could not agree with the rest of the Executive Committee Members on several issues including undue interference in dissolution of corporate bodies and unilateral sacking and appointment of key workers, the Body of Ambassadors, respected laymen/elders of the church tried to intervene to sort things out. He snubbed them and refused every entreaty to see them. There was a total breakdown of communication within the Executive Committee rank as they were no longer to serve as rubberstamp to his dangerous action.
This ugly scenario lingered for several months and soon became public knowledge. All attempt by elders, seasoned retired leaders and serving ministers of the Church to resolves the issues met a brick wall. Finally, the requisite number of members and pastors requested for the convocation of the General Committee whose responsibility it is under the constitution to resolve intractable problem which arise from the Executive Committee. He was duly invited but like every previous attempts by bodies and individuals to have him listen to reason failed on deaf ears, he snubbed the invitation and rather procured proxies to sue the church. The truth was that he used his name personally to institute the suit initially but when he realized the implication as a General Superintendent of the church, he abandoned the suit and used three conies to later sue the church. He sought for an injunction to restrain the convening of the General Committee of the church. The State High Court asked him to put the church on notice. Before he could do so, the General Committee met on the 6th of March 2014.
At the General Committee, the acts of the Executive Committee Members were reviewed and put into proper perspective. At the end of the deliberations, coupled with the fact that there was evidence that he actually went to court against the church, the August Body applied the provision of the Constitution and Bye-Laws of the church which prescribed dismissal for such a pastor.
Accordingly, he was dismissed as the General Superintendent and suspended as a member of the church. It was this dismissal as a General Superintendent and suspension from membership that Rev Paul Emeka later challenged in court through and an action before Justice A.O Onovo, the same judge that was hearing the proxy suits filed by Paul Emeka.
In the year 2014 Rev. Paul Emeka filed a Motion on Notice seeking for the enforcement of his alleged Fundamental Human Rights. Part of the relief he sought include as follows;
1. A Declaration that the meeting held by the church on 6th March, 2014 purportedly as a meeting of the General Committee of the Assemblies of God to determine allegations made against him Rev Paul Emeka was illegal and unconstitutional, the same not having been properly convened and constituted in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and Bye-laws of Assemblies of God, Nigeria, 2002 and in contravention of the rights of him to peaceful exercise of the duties of his office as General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria (As amended).
2. A Declaration that the proceedings and decisions of the said purported meeting of the General Committee of Assemblies of God, Nigeria culminating in a purported dismissal and suspension of Rev Paul Emeka is null and void, the proceeding having been reached in contravention of the Rules of Natural Justice and Rev Paul Emeka’s rights under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).
3. A Declaration that Rev Paul Emeka’s alleged dismissal from the Ministry and suspension as a member of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria is in contravention of his right to fair hearing as secured under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).
4. A Declaration that the Purported dismissal and suspension of the applicant allegedly for the reason inter alia that Rev Paul Emeka sued the church to Court is in contravention of Rev Paul Emeka’s right of access to Court and fair hearing as enshrined in Section 6 (6) and 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended).
5. An Order of injunction restraining the Church, their servants, agents, privies, cohorts by themselves or through any person(s) whomsoever from interfering with or obstructing Rev Paul Emeka in the peaceful performance of the duties, functions and obligations of his office as General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, Nigeria and the enjoyment of all the rights, privileges, benefits, remunerations and prerequisites of the said office, or from exercising his rights as a Minister and member of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
6. An Order of N500M for general damages for Rev Paul Emeka against the Church jointly and severally for various breaches and threats of Rev Paul Emeka’s fundamental rights.
At the State High Court injunctive orders were made exparte against the Church while the substantive application was adjourned to the following day being 17/4/2014 for hearing.
The Church meanwhile filed an application seeking the following orders;
1. Setting aside the service of the originating process as having been served improperly;
2. Setting aside the injunctive and restraining orders made ex parte against the church;
3. Striking out the suit for want of competence.
The State High Court in a ruling on 11/12/14 refused the application to set aside the service of the originating process. He also overruled the objection challenging the competence of the suit and then in the same instance delivered judgement on merit where he granted all the reliefs of Rev Paul Emeka and awarded 30 million costs against the church.
This Ruling set off the journey to the Appellate Courts up to Supreme Court. Meanwhile based upon this questionable ruling of the State High Court, Rev Paul Emeka, who had earlier used armed thugs to invade and seize the sprawling national secretariat of the Chruch with the connivance of some policemen, held unto and refused to vacate the Headquarters of Assemblies of God, Nigeria at Enugu even when his case was dismissed by the Court of Appeal in 2015. He employed thugs and cultists to unleash terror on some churches in the East, South-South and Northern States who refused to accept him as the General Superintendent of Assemblies of God, Nigeria. He also refused to vacate the property owned by Assemblies of God, Nigeria where he occupies by virtue of his office; he formed a parallel “Church”, “Sections”, “Districts” and “General Council” with few dissidents by causing confusion in the entire Assemblies of God, Nigeria.
Assemblies of God, Nigeria had towed the line of civility, peace and maturity by appealing against the ruling of the State High Court in Enugu. On 14/4/2015, the Appeal Court Enugu allowed the Appeal and set aside the judgment of the trial Court for being a nullity. The Court held that Rev Paul Emeka’s suit was incompetent and that the trial Court at Enugu lacked the jurisdiction to have entertained it in the first place. Rev Paul Emeka’s suit was accordingly struck out. The court then went into the merit of his case, based only on his own affidavits (since the Church did not file any counter affidavit) and still held that even if the matter was not incompetent, Paul Emeka would still lose and indeed lost. The court blamed him for all the woes that recently befell the church.
Rev Paul Emeka used all manner of propaganda to try to discredit that judgment and subsequently appealed to Supreme Court. He accused the lord justices of the Court of Appeal of having been bribed by the church! We moved to take over our Secretariat but was prevailed upon by then IG Solomon Arase that since Rev Paul Emeka had appealed that we should allow the appellate process to be exhausted. The Church did not like that attitude of the then IG but decided to remain law-abiding. It is instructive to note that Paul Emeka filed a motion for stay of execution before the Court of Appeal but this was struck and he was advised by the court to file the motion before the Supreme Court since the appeal had been entered there. He never filed same till the judgement was delivered.
While the appeal at the Supreme Court was pending, Rev Paul Emeka exhausted all arsenal of violence on the churches of AG scattered all over Nigeria. He boasted that he will defeat AG, Nigeria at the Supreme Court and threatened to deal with everyone that called him to order while he was the General Superintendent. We cannot tell what gave them such confidence but the Church prayed and believed in God and law lords to dispense justice. Interestingly, he had repeated the same choreography at the appeal court and still lost. We expect him to soon accuse the law lords of the apex court of corruption also. He is a master blackmailer and disciple of the “48 Laws of Power”.
While Rev Paul Emeka and his few followers sew clothes to celebrate their anticipated victory on the 24th of February, 2017 against Assemblies of God, Nigeria, God thought otherwise and in a well considered unanimous judgment of the 5-man panel of the Supreme Court, the Appeal of Rev Paul Emeka was dismissed and the Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Enugu which held that the suit of Rev Paul Emeka was incompetent and a nullity. The suit was dismissed for want of competence.
What is baffling in all these is that, Rev Paul Emeka has been deceiving his few followers that the Supreme Court judgment declared him as the substantive General Superintendent of AG Nigeria, that his suspension and dismissal by the General council of AG Nigeria was a nullity and unconstitutional!
Gentlemen of the press, I will forward to your emails the judgment of the Supreme Court delivered on the 24th of February, 2017. You need to ask which judgment is Rev Paul Emeka and his so-called lawyers referring to or interpreting? The one read by the Supreme Court justices or the one he procured from ‘Oluwole’?
More intriguing is the foot dragging and prevarication of the Nigerian Police to let us take back our secretariat from Rev Paul Emeka. We would have taken possessions of all our properties in his custody all this while but for the intervention of the Nigerian Police authorities who advised the church to allow the Supreme Court to deliver its judgment.
Now that this judgment has been delivered dismissing the appeal of Rev Paul Emeka, what appellate options is the Police waiting for? We refuse to think that the Nigerian Police is protecting a dismissed church member and leader while leaving the church itself unprotected. We do not understand why the police locked up our secretariat leaving the church to squat in residential houses, hotels and schools. We do not know how long the police will keep this going. We do not know the rationale for police’s ambivalence in the face of the dismissal of Paul Emeka’s suit by the Supreme Court.
I have personally called this press conference as a member of Assemblies of God and a Legal Adviser of one of the leading Districts in Nigeria to alert the nation of the brazen and contemptuous disregard of the judgment of the Supreme Court by one individual and it seems that the institution of state wants to aid this impunity. God forbid that this should happen in this dispensation and by a government that majority of Nigerians risked their reputation for.
For the record:
1. Paul Emeka is no longer a member of the Assemblies of God Nigeria.
2. He is no longer a pastor in the church.
3. He is no longer a leader of the church.
4. H is no longer a trustee of the Church, having been duly removed and the current certificate from the Corporate Affairs Commission reflecting this.
5. Despite the above, Paul Emeka still operates bank accounts in the name of the Church and collects monies due to the church every day. If this is not fraud, then we have to invent a new definition for the term.
6. Paul Emeka has acquired 3 chieftaincy titles since he was removed from office. He trusts in traditional rulership more than in God.
7. He has acquired two additional ‘professorships’ since his removal and dismissal. The Nigeria institutions set up to regulate such standards look on while public travesty is made of the highly-revered professorial title. Journalists should please find out why the NUC and other bodies have not acted. Does it mean that any us can now start parading as prof?
8. He declared that Chief Gabriel Igbinedion has become the life patron of the Assemblies of God Nigeria! Assemblies of God! God forbid!
9. He recently publicly declared his allegiance to one of the major political parties in Nigeria.
10. There is not a single former leader of the church or notable laity that support him. His support comes from ministers whose have the same reprobate spirit with him and even before his downfall, these men were already known to be terrible fellows. These are the people he constituted into an executive and they follow him wherever he goes.
By this press conference, I implore the Inspector General of Police Mr. Ibrahim Idris to carry out the judgment of the Supreme Court by letting the Church repossess the Secretariat of AG Nigeria in Enugu and vacate all other properties scattered all over Nigeria which he has sat upon based upon the erroneous judgment of the State High Court Enugu which the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court have all nullified. We do not want a breakdown of law and order in the church as a foremost Pentecostal Church in Nigeria they cannot be seen to employ unorthodox method in resolving what rightfully belongs to them.
The Nigerian Police, the time to act is now!!
Mr. Monday O. Ubani
Member of AG
Legal Adviser of Lagos District of AG, Nigeria and
Member of the Legal Team of
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