A controversial pastor in Akwa Ibom State has been invited for questioning by the police.
Richard Peters, who is the pastor in-charge of St. Paul African Church, Eket, posted on Facebook, Thursday, the invitation letter he said he got from the police.
The invitation is based on “a security report at the disposal of the bureau”, the letter said.
The letter, dated February 13, requested Mr. Peters to report on February 20 to the officer in-charge of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) at the police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
Mr. Peters told PREMIUM TIMES that some elders in his church wrote to the police, accusing him of being involved in cultism.
“I have never been involved in cultism before,” he said. “Cultism is a strange thing to me.”
The priest took to Facebook to say that there were plans to sack him from the church.
“If my church people want me out of the African Church, I think they know what to do, and not (be) using other means like writing false allegations against me to the police commissioner.
“I am also a bona fide member of the church by birth, baptism, communion and contribution. I am a priest by divine calling and the constitutional provisions of the church. I will resist any attempt by anybody to deny me the opportunity to worship God in spirit and in truth,” he said on Facebook.
Mr. Peters was queried last month by the Archbishop of the African Church, Calabar Province, A.A. Odufuwa, for taking to Facebook to address a PREMIUM TIMES reporter, Cletus Ukpong, as “Son of Satan” and “demon”.
Mr. Peters had surprisingly posted both the query and his response to it on Facebook.
In his response, the pastor dared the archbishop to point to him where he violated the Nigerian Constitution or the Bible “which is the standard reference we use as Christians”.
“It will not be fair that I am punished on the basis of somebody’s anger against me for performing what I consider a constitutionally-protected action,” he told the archbishop.
Mr. Peters first attracted the attention of the media in 2016 when a young human rights lawyer from Akwa Ibom State, Inibehe Effiong, rejected a “Freedom and Justice Award” from the pastor because he (Mr. Peters) requested a “small assistance” from him as part of the requirement for the award.
The pastor in 2017 sparked outrage on social media when he made public his letter to the Christian Association of Nigeria announcing the suspension of the lawyer, Mr. Effiong, from the African Church, for leading a protest against Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel’s plan to build a new governor’s lodge in Lagos. The lawyer was never a member of the church.
Mr. Peters, also in 2017, called for capital punishment against critics of Governor Emmanuel.
“Any destructive criticism to any government is satanic,” he wrote on Facebook. “And such person should be stoned to death.”