COVID-19: Kaduna govt arraigns two pastors for holding church service

Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai
Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai

The Kaduna State Government said that two clergymen were arrested by security agents for holding church service last Sunday in violation of the lockdown order by the government.

A statement issued by the Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, on Tuesday said that one Ifeanyi Ojonu and Giniki Okafor held church service at Sabon Tasha of Chikun Local Government Area of the state.

Mr Aruwan said the suspects had been arraigned before a Chief Magistrates Court on Monday.

The commissioner said the suspects were arraigned on a two-count charge of criminal conspiracy and disobedience to an order duly promulgated by a public servant, under Sections 59 and 115 of the Penal Code.

“Nobody is above the law and everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, the Quarantine Law will be applied without fear or favour until the lockdown is duly lifted,’’ Mr Aruwan said.

He recalled that some Muslim clerics who held congregational prayers on March 27, at Unguwar Kanawa and Malali areas of Kaduna North Local Government were earlier arrested.

“They were promptly arrested and subsequently arraigned before a Chief Magistrates Court on March 30, 2020 to demonstrate the government’s determination to prosecute violators of the Quarantine Law,’’ he said.

The commissioner said the two clergymen apparently misread the government’s strong signal as they flouted the law and disobeyed the warning of various leaders of faith by holding church service last Sunday.

He, however, commended religious and traditional rulers for sensitising their followers about the dangers of COVID-19 by asking them to obey the lockdown order as a religious obligation.

The commissioner maintained that the religious community had substantially complied with the lockdown as Muslims daily congregational prayers, including Jumma’at prayers, had been suspended.

He said church services have also not been held in line with the government directive.

Mr Aruwan advised residents to report any infringement of fundamental human rights by either security agents or government officials by calling these dedicated telephone numbers (09034000060, 08170189999) to complain.


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