March 29, 2020

Covid-19: Delta churches defy government ban

By Paul Olayemi

Three churches, at least, in Sapele, Delta State, on Sunday held services clearly defying government order on religious and social gatherings of more than 50 persons.

When Vanguard visited the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Kings Palace Mega Parish along New road in Sapele, Sapele local government area, the church of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chieftain in the state and Director of Asaba International Airport, Mr Augustine Ayemidejor, the church service witnessed a massive attendance by members.

Over 500 members were packed into the church, with the congregation rapt attention on a projector screen, showing the General Overseer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye speaking, there was no social distancing as ordered by the State Government.

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The Orodje of Okpe, His Royal Highness, Orhue 1 Major General Felix Mujakperuo (CFR, mni; rtd) on Friday paid a town crier to sensitize the public on Covid -19 with Sapele local government chairman, Hon Eugene Inoaghan taking sensitisation to Sapele main market.

Along same New road in Sapele, the Jesus Freedom Ministry was also holding service with more than 200 members in attendance before a team of visiting journalists were attacked by members of the church who accused them of trying to take shots of them, temporarily disrupting service, church members went into a fisticuff with the media team with some trying to snatch journalists gadgets, the members were, however, seen hurrying back into the church to, obviously, continue service.

Along Ugberikoko road, Divine Anointed Eagles Ministry, a Pentecostal church just before Borrow Pit, Vanguard also witness church service going on, with over 100 persons including children in attendance, the pastor, however, dismissed the congregation on noticing the presence of media men in the church “Go out, go out, let the second service start with only fifty persons”  the Pastor, Apostle Itama shouted into the microphone, leaving the church members in disarray.

However churches like Promise Kingdom Ministry aka Overflow at Amukpe, Omega Prophetic Power Ministry, situated at Amukpe, the Church of God Mission along New road, and St Patrick Catholic Church along Yoruba road, all observed the social distancing with members not more than 50 in their churches.

Also, the Living Faith Church aka Winners Chapel, Channel of  Greatness Unshakable Ministry, and the Provincial headquarter of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, close to MTN office were among others who adhere to the State Government orders on social distancing and not more than 50 persons in a church service.

While reacting to this, members of Jesus Freedom Ministry, some members who were not pleased said they would prefer to die than not attending church services, with one threatening to invoke the wrath of God on journalists.

Meanwhile, a Delta Central and community leader, Hon Festus Pemu has handed over 5,000 face masks and 6,000 hand sanitizers to the residents of Sapele, in Sapele Local Government area in Delta State, in an effort to curb the spread of the dreaded Covid-19 otherwise known as Coronavirus.
“It’s my little way of giving back to the society and I want them to understand that the disease is real, I want them to stay alive,” Pemu said, adding that this was his own little way to support whatever measures the Federal and State government has put in place to curb the menace.