ECWA Pastor decries taskforce attack on church members

From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos

Rev. Charles Dah and Board of elders of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Goodnews Church, Ahmadu Bello Way Jos, have raised concerns over the overzealous action of members of the Plateau State Taskforce on COVID-19.

The Church said it members were “attacked, harassed and severely beaten” by members of the taskforce on Thursday, while holding a meeting in the church.

This was disclosed by the Rev. Dah, flanked by the Board of elders of the Church, while addressing journalists on Sunday in Jos, the State Capital.

He said, “As critical stakeholders we are committed to abiding by the measures put in place by the state government.

“Unfortunately, we were shocked and appalled that despite taking steps to stay within government guidelines; it appears the Church is being unduly targeted by overzealous security personnel in a purported bid to enforce government’s directives.”

He maintained that, “The directives as contained in the Governor’s broadcast and subsequent emphasis in a press statement by the Director of Press and Public Affairs to the governor never banned the meeting of persons in the Churches.”

It would be recalled that the governor’s broadcast clearly stated that, no congregation of more than 50 people at places of worship among others, and strict observance of 2 meters social distancing where up to 50 people congregate, as well as the provision of hygiene materials such as water, soap, and sanitizers, among many other regulations must be observed.

“In obeying the directives as a Church, we have drawn up modalities to hold our Sunday services and Church programmes to adhere to government restrictions and to reduce the number of persons attending our Sunday worship services and such meetings in order not to attract a gathering that would exceed 50 persons.

“Sadly, on Thursday 26th March, 2020, a few of our members were attacked, harassed and severely beaten by men of the Operation Safe Haven within the premises of the Church.”

The Clergy further stated that some members of the Church were “assaulted and brutalized” within the Church gate area by the aforementioned security personnel.

“Among those injured was a medical personnel; they bundled him into their Hilux van and later released him after identifying himself as a medical doctor.
“He suffered severe injuries and had to seek immediate medical attention and is being treated at home due the u justifiable assault and injuries inflicted on him,” he lamented.

“What was their crime? They were found right within the church premises and the total number of members present did not exceed 30 when the team of security officers from Operation Safe Haven stormed the Church premises.

“The question begging for an answer therefore is, did the Governor’s directives completely ban persons from going to Church? Did the Governor authorise the men of the taskforce to brutalise and assault anybody seen within any premises? What crime did our members commit to warrant the brutality visited on them by members of the taskforce?” He asked.

The Church condemned the action of the taskforce and demanded that it tenders an apology to the Church.

The church also cautioned that, “Security personnel must not be selective or bias in their enforcement, but should demonstrate justice and fairness towards all Nigerians.”

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