— Perpetrators will be fished out to face the full weight of the law – Gov. Bello
As the nation battles to contain the #EndSARS protest against police brutality, some churches volunteered to organise prayer walks in different parts of the country.
However, the peaceful prayer walk in Anyigba, Dekina local government area of Kogi state on Monday ended in chaos as armed thugs attacked the procession.
Led by Bishop David Sanda of Love Oasis Church, Anyigba, Pastor Silas Edogbo and other clerics, Christians on prayer walk were accosted by policemen and political thugs who demanded that they confine their prayers to the church.
The procession retreated to Dunamis Church in Anyigba to intercede on behalf of the nation, but were attacked mid-way by armed thugs who unleashed mayhem on the worshippers.
The church was vandalised, worshippers beaten while some of the pastors were whisked away.
Reacting on the incident, Bishop Sanda confirmed that the worshippers were attacked by hoodlums.
According to the Christian cleric: “Yes, I was beaten and molested by ‘suspected’ Vigilante and banned SARS operatives during our prayer walk in Anyigba today (Monday).
“In the train was Evang Emma Ibrahim, Pst Silas Edogbo, Pst. Sam of Dunamis and several other ministers leading a crowd of close to 400 youths.
They stopped us tore the Nigeria flags we were holding and the banner saying ‘Lord, Heal our Land’ and asked us to move to a Church.
“Following a previous counsel by the State CAN Chairman (Bishop John Ibenu), I led the crowd to the nearby Dunamis Church and while on our knees praying at the Church, they came led by Prince Ishaq Okolo, SSA on Security of Dekina LGA who is currently vying for the local government chairmanship.
“The hoodlums barged into the Church premises and started beating us while we were still on our knees in prayer.
The brother of the SSA then jacked me, tore my clothes, slapped and beat me with woods, cut my bishopric crucifix and told me Anyigba is not a Christian town.
I answered that Jesus is Lord over the land and I received a second round of beatings by some folks following him.
“They broke the windows of the Dunamis Church, entered in, stabbed a securityman of the Dunamis Church on his hand and destroyed several plastic chairs.
They went away with Pst Silas and only released after a long while,” he recounted.
Ealier, armed thugs attacked protesters in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.
The thugs attacked the youth while they were converging for protest in Lokoja on Monday.
The thugs, armed with cutlasses and machetes, chased protesters from the various converging grounds.
In a swift reaction, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello condemned the Monday’s attack on some Christians who were on a peaceful prayer walk in Anyigba area by some criminal elements.
The Governor, in a statement issued on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, while condemning the act, assures that perpetrators of such unholy act will be fished out to face the full weight of the law.
Bello said at a time the nation is facing unrest and disturbance, there is need for every religion organisation to intensify their faith by praying to God for His intervention in the affairs of the country, noting that any act capable of truncating peaceful religious gathering is sacrilegious, repugnant and unacceptable.
He emphasised the need for people to cohabit peacefully irrespective of their religious differences, noting that one of his achievements as Governor was the unification of the people across religious and ethnic divides, adding that his administration will not tolerate any act capable of causing disunity amongst the people of the state.
The governor further stated stated that the protection of lives at any legitimate gathering is the responsibility of the security agencies and advised members of the public to be mindful of intruders while engaging in religious procession at this critical moment in the nation’s history.
According to the Governor, every act of brigandage and violence constitute an act of criminality that his government is fighting on all fronts, saying Government will not abdicate its all important function of ensuring security of all irrespective of religious or ethnic backgrounds.
He, therefore, urged the people to go about their normal business as his administration will continue to ensure their safety.