Central Nigeria: Military personnel supposedly enforcing government guidelines on the control of COVID-19, Thursday “brutalized” civilian members of a Church’s compliance team in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.
The operatives of the Special Military Task Force on a decades-long Peacekeeping mission, stormed ECWA Goodnews Church, near the terminal station of the city, evening, supposedly on government’s directives.
A State Government press statement earlier in the day had banned gatherings of more than 50 persons, with a compulsory 2meters sitting interval.
The meeting, however, had not more than 30 elders, Pastors, medical professionals and zonal leaders, discussing the restructuring of the Church’s programs to suit government guidelines, Senior Pastor of the ECWA Goodnews Church, Rev. Charles Dah told Journalists on Sunday.
A Medical Doctor attending the meeting, Rev. Dah said was wounded and briefly detained during the assault.
“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,” said the Pastor.
The “selective and biased” enforcement of the Government directives suggests “the Church is being unduly targeted by overzealous security personnel,” Dah said.
The Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Danladi Atu, Saturday acknowledged that “some individuals and groups had mobilised their followers to disobey Government orders” on social distancing.
Several videos had Friday appeared on social media of a popular Islamic cleric in Jos, preaching against the order, in a large compacted gathering of worshippers.
“Government has asked Security agencies to take the necessary measures on such persons,” said the SSG, Prof. Atu in a press conference at the State Government House, but no arrest has been reported yet.
The leadership of the ECWA Goodnews Church is demanding an apology from the State Officials, and a restraining order on securities “to avoid the violation of the fundamental rights of law abiding citizens.”