Lockdown: Drama as 3 Abuja Pastors deny members of their churches

File: An anonymous priest

There was mild drama at the Federal Housing Authourity, Lugbe as some pastors tried to evade prosecution by the FCT Ministerial Enforcement Taskforce on COVID-19 Restriction.

The Pastors, who have partitioned the rocks behind FHA Lugbe as their worship centres on Sunday, denied ownership of the large crowd worshipping on the hilltop.

The pastors are Ibitoye Kayode of the Liberty Faith Gospel Church, Pastor Joshua Olaniru of Liberty Gate Ministry and Pastor Vitalis Udeazi of Dominion Chapel.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that trouble started when the task team stormed the area and could not differentiate worshippers and their religious leaders.

After brief interrogation the three pastors were identified from the crowd although Udeazi tried to conceal his identity.

He said none of his members was present at the time the members of the task force arrived the mountain top.

However, that did not go down well with other pastors who protested vehemently that he was one of them.

Luck ran out on him when some members identified him as their pastor, although he still insisted that they were his prayer members.

Similarly, Olaniru, who also denied any wrong doing, was identified in a video while conducting service before the arrival of the task force team.

Addressing the pastors, Chairman of the task force, Ikharo Attah, expressed disappointment with the clerics for denying the large group of worshippers.

“No one among you agree that anyone came to worship with them even when they turned out in large numbers. One of you even went ahead to deny being a pastor.”

Attah also cautioned them against holding worship service in defiant of the presidential directive.

NAN reports that the clerics were arraigned before the Mobile court presided by Magistrate Idayat Akonni and fined N5,000 each in addition to three hours community service.