THE Office of the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Osogbo is grilling eight top pastors of the Supreme Council faction of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), in a leadership battle that is tearing the faction apart.
They are being interrogated over allegations of conspiracy, stealing, impersonation and swearing to a false oath, among others. Their interrogation followed a petition by members of the church.
The petition, among others, alleged that the pastors were “illegally presenting themselves as the leaders of the Supreme Council, otherwise called the Constituted Authority, under the guise to misrepresent, mislead and deceive members of the church and (the) public at large.”
It accused former General Superintendent and General Secretary Pastors J. A. Adeoloye and J. O. Oguntile of retiring and planting their stooges in their positions with the aim of frustrating the faction to collapse into the General Executive faction.
Besides, the petition alleged that they planted junior pastors in their positions to use them in siphoning church funds and drawing other personal benefits from the church after retiring.
The petition further accused the retired pastors of compulsorily retiring 30 other pastors along with themselves on the same July 1, 2018, a decision the petition said was against the constitution of the church.
The petition added that despite the above, seven other pastors conspired with the retired General Superintendent to appoint themselves as president, general superintendent, general evangelist, general secretary, general treasurer, legal adviser and publicity secretary. The seven pastors, according to the petition, claimed that they were appointed by the retired general superintendent and general secretary in November, 2018, whereas the duo retired on July 1, 2018. They made the claim on January 1, 2019. The petition wondered how retired officers can make new appointments.
The petitioners emphasised that of the seven alleged illegal appointments, that of the general treasurer was done to enable the embattled pastors “gain access to the accounts of the church.”
With the appointment, the petitions said that the pastors have succeeded in changing signatories to the church’s account with a first generation bank.
The petition accused the pastors of withdrawing large sums of money from the church account from which they bought posh vehicles for themselves.
To validate the appointments of the seven pastors, the petition claimed that the embattled pastors cooked up a list of attendees at fake Supreme Council meetings dated July 17, 2018; August 28, 2018 and October 18, 2018.
The petition said: “The above-listed persons and self-acclaimed leaders of Christ Apostolic Church are operating as an illegal body with no certificate of incorporation. The original and the only recognised certificate of the Christ Apostolic Church Nigeria (dated the 4th May of 1943, which was amended on the 16th day of December 1985 with Registration number 147) is in the custody and under the control of the authentic leaders of the church led by Pastor S. O. Ogundare.”
Confirming the interrogation, the Zonal Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Adekunle Ajisebutu, said the Legal Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department is handling the case.
He said some of those accused in the petition had given their statements as well as the petitioners, adding that the zone was making arrangement to visit Ibadan to take statements from those who could not visit Osogbo to give their statements due to old age.
Police intervention in this CAC matter does not seem right in law. The powers of the Police is very limited in civil disputes and the Police cannot really usurp the arbitral powers of the Courts. This appears to be a matter for the courts rather than for the Police.