The Celestial Church of Christ on Tuesday explained in detail, how 21 years old Sylvester Friday died while working in the Church Parish located at Bayan Dutse, Narayi Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The death of the young man led to the burning of the church by protesters in the area.
The protesters, mostly youth, also attempted to lynch the pastor of the Church, Babatunde Shtitu, while in police custody.
The angry youth also torched part of the police outpost where the pastor was kept for safety reasons.
Dele- Ara, a leader at the Church, at a news briefing in Kaduna, said the church separated itself from any kind of diabolical activity based on its doctrine and tenets.
He described the young man’s death as an accident and not that he was used as for rituals as speculated.
“The deceased, Sylvester Friday a 21-year-old member of the community who has been a mason with the church, had worked with the church on her construction for some time now.
“On the fateful day, 21 March 2018, he was engaged by the Shepherd, Steven Shittu, to do a small work by the bank of river where the church was trying to control the erosion that was claiming its land, a project that had been on for some time.
“While working he (Sylvester) slipped into the deeper part of the water and the shepherd supervising raised an alarm when he realised the drowning of the mason.
“The neighbours that came around could not help much. In desperation, he (Babatunde) ran to the nearest police post to report the situation and to get expert divers to rescue the boy. As the Shepherd was laying his complaint at the police station, a report came in that the boy had drowned, the body had been recovered from the river and the church had been set ablaze by the mob.
He said the police then advised the Shepherd to remain in their custody to avoid being lynched by the mob.
“We reiterate that what happened on that day was an accident and by no means ritual,” he said.
The evangelist further expressed concern over the plight of their parishes located around the vicinity of the incident as according to him the mob vowed to carry out more damages.
He also commended the efforts of police, other authorities for their prompt steps to curb the incident that could have led to further death and destruction of properties.
The police, confirming the incident, said they already made arrests and suspects will be taken to court.
The State Governor, Nasir El’rufai, in a statement signed by his spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, also condemned the attack on the church and police post.
He directed the police to carry out investigation on the cause of the young man’s death.
The governor warned residents to desist from taking laws into their hands.
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