Saminaka Assemblies of God Scandal: Was Rufai Wrong?
Earlier this week, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State ordered the immediate closure of two Assemblies of God Churches, a theological seminary and a church-owned hospitals and secondary school all located in Saminaka, Lere Local Government Area of the State.
According to his media aides the closure was aimed at avoiding the escalation of the conflict brewing between the two factions of the congregations whose leaderships’ positions they described as, “principally to preserve their personal interests with little concern for the common good, and the peace and security of the state”.
Samuel Aruwan, the governor’s spokesman, on Wednesday in Kaduna listed the affected bodies as: Theological Seminary of Northern Nigeria (TSNN), Shalom Comprehensive College, Assemblies of God Church, Nmbare, Assemblies of God Church, Jerusalem, and Assemblies of God Church Evangelist Hospital, all located in Saminaka.
This has created a lot of controversy in the state, particularly among the Christian community, with some judging the governor right and others saying he has gone too far. But was the governor truly wrong or right?
Y.F. is a deacon of the church in Plateau State and here are his exact words about the scandals rocking the church from the top to bottom:
“Let me start this liturgy by saying Assemblies of God is not a church own by anybody. We have no General Overseer hence the nomenclature General Supretendant. Our laws are not changed by an individual. It must follow through the Executive Council and lastly the General Council.
“I was born in The Assemblies of God Church. I am presently a Deacon in Assemblies of God Dadin Kowa Jos Nigeria. I took my time to investigate the crises in my church when it started. I discussed at length with the Paul Emeka and the General Council led by Chidi Okoraofor factions.
“The modus operandi for removing Paul Emeka may be wrong, but as a church leader, you have got no rights whatever to take the church to court even if it was alleged that you are high handed. I see politics at play in the house of God and I am truly ashamed. I know also that propaganda is the tool used now.
“You may also be aware of the crises in the Jos Mainland District of Assemblies of God Church on the Plateau. Last Tuesday, Paul Emeka came and asked members loyal to him to cause trouble in any church that does not want him. I speak in great fear and trembling as I work my salvation. How come the crisis is only at its peak in the north? Is it true that some church leaders want a northern General Council of Assemblies of God Church? I see sectionalism, tribalism and ethnicity at display in the House Of God. Shame!!!
“Truth has been subverted by agnosticism. The word of God is twisted to suit mortals who have lost it. Paul got a judgment from the High Court. The General Council got a judgment from the appellate court. Which one subsists? If you do not agree, simply go to the Supreme Court, but in the interim, maintain status quo as ruled by the appellate court.
“Also the Police and media have been compromised. The Police was to be seen to enforce an order of the Appeal Court but all in vain. Even when CAN meddled into the affairs, their counsel was skewed. CAN has no such rights to decide for denominations what their modus operandi is. But can advise appropriately. Ayo Oritsejiafor is not helping matters because of his affiliations to a faction.
“I am not and will not justify why El-rufai ordered the closure of these institutions, but I can throw a little light as to why he did that.
1. How do you reconcile a Church that takes it matters to the Sultanate for mediation? Have you (not) heard that a leader in Jos Mainland District visited Sultan Abubakar Sa’ad III to ask that the judges in the Supreme Court be talked to because they have been compromised to give judgment in favour of the GC?
2. How do we reconcile that the Church has brought in outsiders to mediate in the matters of the Church?
3. How is it that the Inspector General of Police and some CPs are deeply involved in this display of corruption and lack of respect for the law?
4. Why is the media making so much from a matter that is to be discussed behind closed doors?
5. Why are issues in the AG so politicized? May be we need to ask Kennedy Okpara some questions too.
“I speak as a bold Child of The Most High who fears no man who can only destroy my body but has got no rights over my soul. You can make inquiry about me if you like. Let truth be told. We allowed the World into a very sensitive Spiritual matter and hence the audacity displayed by El-Rufai. He had the impetus to do that because we have told the world how corrupt and very untruthful we can be.
“I do not want to know who is right and who is wrong. But I cannot put cleverness before common sense. I do not intend to bore you with loads here. But we goofed. The wall cracked and the lizard entered. Matthew 11:28-30 speaks of us taking our burdens to God. As a Christian, I have learned that I cannot exhaust my rights. I do not also intend to convince any. For God has shown me the light. We are called to say the truth”.
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