MEMBERS of two factions in an Assemblies of God Church in Enugu clashed during service on Sunday.
The incident occurred at the church premises on Mount Street in the Awkunanaw area of Enugu.
It was learnt the church had been locked for two months after a bloody clash between the factions over the alleged transfer of the senior pastor.
Southern City News also gathered that the two factions were church members loyal to the Senior Pastor, Reverend Amaechi Agbo, and those backing another pastor, Reverend Nathan Udeze, who was said to have been posted to the branch to take over from Agbo.
The disagreement between the two factions, which was said to be linked to the leadership tussle at the church’s national headquarters, led to the intervention of the police.
The police had reportedly locked the main worship hall of the church building to avert further clashes over which pastor had the authority to head the branch.
The two factions, it was gathered, had been holding parallel services, simultaneously, within the premises of the church building.
Another clash reportedly occurred on Sunday when one of the factions broke into the church building and held a service in the main hall.
Reverend Agbo, who insisted that he was not transferred out of the branch, explained that the police was notified of the alleged invasion of the church building by Reverend Udeze and his supporters.
Agbo said, “The crisis started on July 19, 2015 when one man in my church, who claims to be a lawyer, imported Nathan Udeze to come and overthrow me.
“We resisted them that day. The matter went to police and from there to court; the police advised us to lock the church and we did. We started worshiping outside.
“They went to court for us to open the church for them; they have not allowed the court to decide the case and they came and broke the church entrance contrary to the agreement we reached with the police that we will wait for the court to decide.
“I called the DPO to inform him that these people have broken into the church. I am still in charge of this place; I came here on 12th April 2013 and till date, I remain the Senior Pastor in charge of this church branch. We are calling on law enforcement agencies to do the needful and avert trouble this place.”
But Reverend Udeze dismissed Reverend Agbo’s claims and insisted that he (Udeze) was the authentic Senior Pastor of the church.
Udeze said, “I was posted here as a Senior Pastor on the 9th of July, 2015, and the former pastor, who has been transferred became wild. He refused to go on transfer. He began to mobilise sympathisers, taking advantage of the national crisis.”
Udeze denied breaking the sealed door, saying, “This one month time we have been outside, we took to prayers, asking God to open this door. This morning we came and we saw that the door was open and we came and held church service. We have taken possession of what God has given to us.
“We shall protect our church; nobody gave them the order to lock our church. Neither the police nor the court did. We shall secure our church, the women, the youths, the men, the children, all of them will secure this church.”