File photo: Church members in an auditorium [Used for the purpose of illustration]
By Paul Olayemi
Sapele – Three clerics of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Sapele Chapter, COVID-19 Task Force team in Sapele, Delta State, who were on routine check on Sunday morning to ensure churches adhere to social distancing in a bid to curb the spread of COVID 19, have been reportedly attacked by members of a church, located along Ugberikoko road in Sapele.
The incident was said to have occurred when the CAN Task Force Team on COVID 19 tried to enforce social distancing in the church.
The Special Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, on Security matters, Comrade Ezekiel Daniel who was said to have waded into the issue could not be reached as at press time but a police source who craved anonymity confirmed that three members of the team were bruised with one sustaining an eye injury and are said to be hospitalized in an unknown hospital in the town.
A member of the task force team who simply called himself 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 ensure churches adhere to the rule of social distancing, were attacked 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 said he was among the taskforce team told Vanguard that “When we went to the Church to enforce the social distancing order, the Church members and workers reacted violently and got our people injured”
The source who craved anonymity said in the midst of the violence, “the Pastor of the church was nowhere seen, I just think it’s deliberate. Our members sustained minor injuries while one was severely wounded in his eyes and he has been admitted in one of the clinic around”.
The source said “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”
The source said the same church has been involved in breaking down of rules for some time now “you remember an assistant pastor of the church was arrested few weeks back for holding service when the state government ask church members to stay at home ” he stated.