Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
An Enugu State High Court presided over by Justice V.C. Ajogwu has vacated an interim order it earlier made granting possession of the local Assemblies of God Church at No. 27 Mount Street, Awkunanaw, Enugu to the faction of the church loyal to Rev. Chidi Okorafor.
The court said it lacks jurisdiction to entertain the case, since the matter for determination was the control, management, and administration of the church.
Consequently, it struck out the suit No. E/751/2019 seeking to grant members of the Rev. Chidi Okorafor-led faction of the church possession of the said local church at No. 27 Mount Street, Awkunanaw, Enugu for lack of jurisdiction.
Suit No. E/751/2019 was between Incorporated Trustees of Assemblies of God Nigeria, Rev. David Ezeoha and six others as applicants and Rev. Donatus Onyia, Pastor Emmanuel Ikeh and four others for the members of Assemblies of God Nigeria loyal to the embattled General Superintendent, Rev. Paul Emeka, and Commissioner of Police Enugu State as respondents.
Ruling on a Notice of Preliminary Objection filed by members of Rev. Emeka’s faction, Justice Ajogwu, held that only the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to entertain the suit as enshrined in the Constitution on matters relating to Companies and Allies Act.
He said: “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 1999 Constitution (as amended) and as such any dispute relating 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 the same. I so hold.”