The Enugu State High Court has struck out a suit seeking to grant members of the Rev. Chidi Okorafor-led faction of the Assemblies of God possession and management of a local church at No 27 Mount Street, Awkunanaw, Enugu. The court said it did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
It also vacated an interim order that earlier granted the faction possession of the local church in suit No. E/751/2019. Rev. Chidi Okorafor’s faction had instituted the suit on behalf of Incorporated Trustees of Assemblies of God Nigeria, Rev. David Ezeoha and six others, as plaintiffs against Rev. Donatus Onyia, Pastor Emmanuel Ikeh and four others for themselves and on behalf of members of the Assemblies of God Nigeria loyal to the embattled General Superintendent, Rev. Paul Emeka, and commissioner of police, Enugu State as respondents.
The plaintiffs asked the court for an order to take possession of management and administration of the local church. But ruling on notice of preliminary objection filed by members of Rev. Emeka on Monday, the presiding Judge, Justice V.C. Ajogwu, held that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the case since the matter for determination was the control, management and administration of the church.
He said it was only the Federal High Court that had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit as enshrined in the constitution on matters relating to Companies and Allied Act.
“It is therefore my well-considered view that the 1st plaintiff as an Incorporated Trustee was envisaged by the Provisions of Section 251(1)(e) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and as such any dispute relating to its running, management or control shall be heard and determined exclusively by the Federal High Court. I, therefore, resolve this issue in the negative and hold that this court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain this suit.
“Consequently, the interim order earlier made in this case is hereby vacated. This suit is therefore struck out as this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain same. I so hold.”
The PUNCH had reported that the operatives of the Enugu State Police Command penultimate Sunday invaded the Assemblies of God Church at No. 27 Mount Street, Awkunanaw, Enugu and padlocked the church premises after it drove out worshippers. Punch