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Ugwuanyi mediates in Assemblies of God Church crisis

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What could have led to a major clash between the Police in Enugu and a faction of the Assemblies of God Church led by the General Superintendent, Rev. Paul Emeka, was averted yesterday when the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi ordered policemen out of the Church premises.

Trouble started when some pastors of the Church loyal to Emeka drawn from its branches across the country converged at the New Haven Enugu district headquarters for a meeting to brief them on the recent judgment of the Supreme Court over the leadership tussle in the Church.

However, no sooner had the meeting began than over 50 heavily armed policemen stormed the venue and ordered them out of the premises. Explanations by the pastors that they were gathered for a peaceful meeting fell on deaf ears as the policemen took over the premises.

Perturbed by the development, the Clergymen who were joined by other members, protested to Government House, Enugu. Led by the Secretary, Sapele District, Delta State, Rev. Sunday Palmer, they told Governor Ugwuanyi to order the policemen out of the premises to enable them continue with their meeting or risk confrontation that would have led to break down of law and order.

They said they would no longer fold their arms and watch the police treat them unfairly, stressing that since the Supreme Court judgment last month, which struck out the suit by their General Superintendent, Emeka, the police had tacitly supported the Chidi Okoroafor-led faction and had last week helped them to take over the national secretariat of the Church hitherto occupied by Emeka.

Ugwuanyi, in his response appealed for calm, insisting that he never supported any of the factions in the leadership crisis rocking the Church.He said he would liaise with the Commissioner of Police to enable him convene a meeting with the feuding parties and assured that the outcome of that meeting would determine his next line of action.

“The outcome of your meeting with the Police Commissioner will determine my involvement in the matter and the possibility of calling a Security Council Meeting in the state,” he said.

He, therefore, ordered his Chief Security Officer (CSO) to lead the protesting pastors back to the church premises for the purpose of their meeting.When contacted however, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Enugu State, Ebere Amaraizu said: “We didn’t know the intention of the meeting and that was why we took the action and the action might turn out to be in their interest because the other group may have attacked them.”



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