Members of a church in Ugberikoko road in Sapele attacked three clerics of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Sapele Chapter and the COVID-19 task force team in the area.
The team of individuals were on a routine check on the morning of Sunday, May 17, 2020 to make sure that the church adhered to the social distancing rule to curb the spread of the virus.
Comrade Ezekiel Daniel, the Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Security matters, was said to have been involved in the issue but could not be reached at press time.
A police source who begged for anonymity confirmed that three members of the team got bruises, with one sustaining an eye injury. All three have been hospitalized in the town.
A member of the task force team who referred to himself as Pastor T said:
In our effort to enforce the COVID-19 social distancing policy in churches, the CAN task force team who were going round to endure churches adhere to the rule of social distancing, were today by members of a church located along Ugberikoko road in Sapele, and three of our taskforce members were bruised and one badly injured.
The victim, who is a respected church pastor and an exco member of CAN in Sapele, is currently hospitalized as his head was pummeled by church members who confronted the victim and his team members with violence for attempting to ensure social distancing in the service.”
Another source who revealed that he was among the members of the taskforce said, “When we went to the church to enforce the social distancing order, the church members and workers reacted violently and got our people injured.”
Speaking further, the source said that the Pastor of the church was nowhere to be seen and that he thought it was deliberate.
Presently, we have reported the attack to the police. At first, some of the task force members who are pastors insisted we should not involve the police because they are feeling the church should not wash its dirty linen in the public. But the CAN chairman had a change of mind and had to report to the police.”
According to the source, the church has been involved in breaking of rules for sometime now, pointing out that an associate pastor of the church was arrested a few weeks ago for holding a service when the state government directed church members to stay at home.
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