Supreme Court upholds expulsion of suspended Assemblies of God General Superintendent
Posted by News Express | 25 February 2017 | 2,741 times
•Expelled former AGS General Superintendent Paul Emeka.
The three-year-old leadership crisis rocking the Assemblies of God was yesterday laid to rest, as the Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of the church former General Superintendent, Paul Emeka.
In a unanimous judgment, the apex court held that the appeal filed by the suspended General Superintendent against the church authorities, lacked merit and accordingly dismissed it.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who delivered the lead judgment, affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal in Enugu, which upheld the suspension and dismissal of the appellant by the church.
Besides, the apex court further held that there was no proper proof of service on the respondents by the appellant and the service was accordingly set aside.
On the alleged violation of fair hearing raised by the appellant against the meeting of the church where he was suspended, the court held that there was remedy under chapter 4 of the 1999 constitution.
Justice Kekere-Ekun stated that the provisions of section 36 (1) of the 1999 constitution where the appellant hinged his appeal did not cover proceedings emanating from domestic meetings, standing adhoc tribunals, except proceedings of court of law.
In addition, the court held that the right to be a member of a church is not a right recognised under chapter four of the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Kekere-Ekun accordingly dismissed the appeal for lacking in merit.
The church has been embroiled in leadership crisis for more than two years, culminating in the emergence of two factional leaders and multiple court actions.
The crisis started immediately after the general council of the church on March 6, 2014, suspended Rev. Emeka for violating several sections of the constitution and bye laws of the church, especially Article 12, which dealt with taking or using any other person to drag the church to court for any reason.
The decision to suspend Emeka was taken at the meeting of the general committee held on the date, in the conference hall of the national secretariat, Enugu, after the committee had deliberated on the implications of his action on the image of the church worldwide.
In a letter issued and signed by Rev. Dr. John Ikoni, Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor and Rev. Dr. Vincent Alaje; the General Secretary, Acting General Superintendent and General Treasurer, respectively, the church hinged its decision to suspend the former leader on his alleged violation of the constitution, by dragging the church to court without first bringing his grievances to both the general committee and the executive committee.
The church also accused the former General Superintendent of autocratic tendencies, abuse of power, financial mismanagement; and tarnishing the image of the church as well as bringing it to public ridicule.
The church urged the public to stop relating with Rev. Emeka as its General Superintendent. The committee warned: “ Should any administrative unit(s) or minister(s) or member(s) of Assemblies of God, Nigeria, relate with the former General Superintendent in any way that is contrary to the established practice for all such cases in Assemblies of God, Nigeria, such administrative unit(s) or minister(s) or member(s) would be doing so to their own detriment, and would attract commensurate disciplinary measure by the Executive Committee or the General Officers of Assemblies of God, Nigeria.”