General Overseer of Tower of God Revival Ministry, Pastor Cletus Nzekwesiri Nwankwo and his wife are still recovering from the shock of being beaten almost to stupor by some other pastors in the Pentecostal church situated at Akwakuma in Owerri West Council Area of Imo State.
Trouble started for the couple when two members of the church brought a goat and a cow as thanksgiving offering. At the end of the service, Nwankwo questioned one of the youth leaders who was untying the cow tethered to a post, asking him where he was taking it.
At that moment, he alleged, three other pastors of the church, whose names he gave as Elvis Nwachuckwu, Ikechukwu Nwogu and Victor Joseph arrived on the scene and challenged him on why he should question where the cow was being taken.
An argument ensued between the General Overseer and the trio over who had authority over affairs of the church. As tempers rose, the trio descended on Nwankwo and his wife and thoroughly beat them up.
Nwankwo alleged that his attackers wanted to eliminate him and to take over the church he laboured from 2002 to build in connivance with a relation of his late wife. Prior to the incident, Nwankwo said he had just returned from Ogun State where went to pray for spiritual renewal, noting that the thanksgiving service was the first time he would attend worship service in about a month. He said he had no inkling of the fate that befell him and his wife that fateful Sunday.
His words: “The obvious intent those people was simply to eliminate me so that they can take over the church I established in 2002 and employed them as pastors. I have been away from the church for about a month because I had gone to pray on the ‘mountain’ in Ogun State and just returned. I went to the church with my wife on that fateful February 19th and during the service two members of the church brought a goat and a cow for their thanksgiving but after the church service one of the youth leaders went to where the cow was tethered. As he was trying to untie it, I asked him where he wanted to take the cow to and who instructed him to untie it. But Elvis Nwachuckwu, Victor Joseph and Ikechukwu Nwogu and seven other members attacked me.”
Continuing, he alleged that it was Pastor Elvis who wanted to strangle him by pulling him by his tie while the others were raining blows on him before his wife raised the alarm.
He spoke further: “They beat me as if I was a criminal to the extent that I fainted. It was my wife’s scream for help that attracted the neighbours who came to rescue me by calling in the police. Otherwise I would have been killed because I had already fainted. I saw Ikechukwu holding a big stone which he wanted to use to smash my head, shouting that I must confess my sins before dying. My wife was also injured on her right leg when she was hit with a tile and up till now she has been at the Federal Medical Centre.
However, the embattled General Overseer revealed that the issue of the cow offering was not the main cause of the problem, staying that it was just a ploy by his co-workers in the vineyard of God to take over the church since the death of his first wife, Elizabeth Nzekwesiri Nwankwo, who, he said, was a co- founder of the church. He added that immediately he remarried, some of the people who attacked him vehemently refused to allow his new wife (Evangelist Helen Nzekwesiri) minister in the church, stressing that, “This trouble started after the death of my first wife, Elizabeth, because one of her relations had accused me of being responsible for her death, an accusation that baffles me till date.
Moreover, it was said that she was the real founder of the church and not me. I believed this relation of late wife connived with the three pastors. But real fact remains that it was I who ordained my late wife a pastor of the church just the same way I also employed the three pastors that attacked me. Today they are now claiming that I am not the General Overseer of the church and the question is, if I am not the General Overseer, who employed them? Of the three pastors only Victor Joseph’s appointment as a pastor of the church has been confirmed by me, while Ikechukwu Nwogu and Elvis Nwachuckwu are still on probation because they had no theological training and this was their anger because I had demanded that they should produce their certificate of ordination or theology certificate and that was my offence.”
Nwankwo also revealed to Sunday Sun that because of the lingering disagreement and the conspiracy against him, the three pastors and some relations of his late wife had hijacked all the offerings and tithes brought members of the church and that they have continued to deny him his due.
Meanwhile , one of the pastors alleged to have attacked Nwankwo, Elvis Nwachuckwu told the Sunday Sun that the General Overseer had been suspended from all church activities because of his teachings, which were allegedly inconsistent with the scriptures and that he had no business being in the church on that fateful Sunday. He said Nwankwo only became to collect the cow brought to church for thanksgiving by a member.
“He has been on suspension for the past seven months because of strange doctrines and teachings which are inconsistent with the holy scripture and the Elders Committee of the church had to suspend him. So his coming to the church on that Sunday was simply to collect the cow and nothing. We refused to allow him do it because he had no business being in the church and had been told to stay clear from the premises of the church until the issues are resolved,” Nwachukwu said.