The General Overseer of the City of God Rest Ministry, Pastor Destiny Eguavoen, pictured above, was on Sunday allegedly beaten up by youths of Urora community in Edo State for ”disobeying” the community’s order to stop church service before 8am.
Chief Priest of the community, Chief Ugiagbe Aiwaguore, Ohen Ugbodeyaen of Urora, had asked all churches to end their sunday service before 8am, ordered shop owners in the community and residents to stay indoors for the celebration of the annual Ikpoleki festival.
However, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Oyenude Kure, kicked against the order, saying it violated the freedom of worship as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
Bishop Kure, therefore asked churches in Urora to go about their normal church service on Sunday, adding that the restriction on movement was unacceptable to the church as the body of Christ.
It was gathered that youths of the community moved from street to street to ensure compliance as shops were closed and some churches hurriedly ended their service while others refused to open for business.
At the City of God Rest Ministry, the youths found the pastor still preaching as at 9am and disrupted the service. Members of the church scampered for safety as the youths hit anybody in sight with chairs.
Speaking to The Nation, Pastor Eguavoen said he was badly injured during the attack.
“We were in the church and I saw a man standing in the front pointing at me. It was few minutes past nine. I told my members to concentrate for me to round up service but the youths stormed in and started beating us. They said we did not comply with their directive. They told us to open church between 6am and 8am but we pastors met and said Sunday is a day of our worship and there is no way they can stop us.”
Spokesman for the community, Sunday Osagiede, said they gave churches time within which to open service on the day of the Ikpoleki festival.
The chief priest said all the pastors agreed to hold service between 8am and 9am.
Police spokesman, DSP Chidi Nwabuzor, said the matter was being investigated.