The Nigeria Police has prevented Rev. Prof. Paul Emeka’s faction of the the Assemblies of God Church from reclaiming the headquarters of the church.
Church members, in their thousands, who had arrived from various states of the Federation, were very close to the headquarters of the church at N0. R8 Ozubulu Street, Independence Layout Enugu State, before they were turned back by a combined team of men of Special Anti-Robbery Squared (SARS), Anti-Cult Unit, and regular Anti Riot Squad, numbering over 200.
Many of the church members, especially the elderly men and women, fainted while others got injured when police threw several cans of teargas on them to prevent them entrance into and taking over the Secretariat.
Those who were unconscious were later revived while others scampered to safety, all in the bid for the soul of the church, which has been in crisis since 2014 dividing it into two with Rev. Prof. Emeka leading one faction and Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor leading the other.
The church members, who processed from the District Headquarter, in New Haven, were led by the female members singing religious songs and some carrying placards with inscriptions such as “Your palace coup is over. Okoroafor leave our secretariat for us.”
The members said they have a new court order to reclaim the secretariat, which, according to them, was earlier communicated to the Police and Directorate of State Service (DSS).
They also claimed that the Police Command gave them permit and promised to provide security, provided they conducted themselves in peaceful manner, which they did.
But, in a swift reaction, the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Enugu State olice command, Mr. Ebere Amarizu, told news men that the command was not served any court order and that no permit was granted.
“If Police were aware, there will be no point for police going to disperse them. And, again, it depends on what they were embarking upon; they may have conducted themselves in a manner that will cause breach of peace
“Our concern is to ensure security of life and property. If there is any court order we would have known, may be they are about to serve us, all the same I will still cross check.”
Addressing the members of the church earlier before they proceeded to the national headquarters, Rev. Emeka informed them that they had obtained an ex-parte order from the Federal High Court, Enugu Division, restraining security agencies from inhibiting them from entering the national headquarters to hold their prayers.
He alleged that the Rev. Okoroafor- led faction of the Church had “illegally and forcefully taken over the secretariat with the assistance of security agencies on March 29, 2017,” which prompted his faction to go to the Federal High Court to obtain the restraining order.