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04 May 2020

Lockdown Violations: Abuja Pastor scales fence, 22 violators caught hiding under beans sacks

The enforcement of the restriction orders in the Federal Capital Territory FCT turned dramatic on Sunday when the Pastor in Charge of Shekinah Glory Church, Jabi, along with some of his Deacons and workers scaled the fence to evade arrest on sighting the Ministerial Enforcement Team led by Mr Ikharo Attah.

This was as 22 persons from Zamfara state who had hidden under sacks of beans and potatoes were also arrested when a truck supposedly conveying foodstuffs from the state to the FCT was intercepted at the Abuja City Gate having beaten several security cordons across some states.

Consequently, an FCT Mobile Court sitting in Jabi has ordered an indefinite closure of The Shekinah Glory Church, located opposite Citec Estate, Jabi. The Presiding Magistrate, Mabel Bello also directed that the General Overseer of the church, simply identified as Pastor Kalu, who escaped with some leaders of the church by scaling the fence, be tracked and arrested.

Giving an update on the activities of the Enforcement Team, its Chairman, Mr Ikharo Attah said he had immediately mobilized his team to the area on receipt of intelligence that the church was in full session, a clear contravention of the ban on religious gatherings in the territory.

He said but on sighting the team, the Pastor, some leading church workers including Deacons and Ushers jumped the fence and escaped arrest.

However, some of the church members, especially the womenfolk who could not scale the fence, were arrested and arraigned before the court.

According to him, the Magistrate found the church workers guilty of violating the lockdown restriction order and sentenced them to three hours of supervised community service with an option of N1,000 fine.

Attah added that a search for the fleeing cleric had begun, saying he must be made to face the law for disobeying government’s directives and endangering the lives of his members.

He explained that the team also intercepted a truck loaded with foodstuffs from Zamfara state, which had 22 passengers hidden beneath the bags of beans and potatoes. Attah noted that during interrogation of the driver and occupants of the truck, it was discovered that the 22 passengers had defied government’s ban on interstate movement and were almost sneaking into the city centre.

Consequently, the Enforcement Team immediately escorted the passengers out of Abuja with an order that they should return to Zamfara state and remain there until the Covid-19 pandemic has abated.

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