How EFCC Invaded Church Over Tithe,Brutalized Members



The General Overseer of a new generation Church in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Warriors of Christ International Incorporated, the Reverend Ambassador John Richard, last week Tuesday, escaped death by the whiskers when he was beaten and dragged on the floor of his church, by men alleged to be officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) .The men said to be from EFCC attacked his church premises on Peter Odili Road in Port Harcourt, to recover N350,000.00 (Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) tithe voluntarily paid by an estranged member of the church a year ago.
The Church G.O alongside other members of his congregation were observing their weekly programme of fasting and prayers in the church when EFCC operatives stormed the place and held them hostage for several hours in the church premises. He managed to escape to an undisclosed hospital in Port Harcourt, where he is presently receiving treatment after he was given the beating of his life. The siege on the church premises which lasted for about two hours would have resulted in death and more casualties, if not for the intervention of men of the JTF, a Nigerian Military outfit, whose sudden appearance on the church premises, momentarily brought to a halt the brutality of the EFCC officials, who on sighting the JTF men, identified themselves and stated their mission in the church. The JTF men, who were told by the EFCC operatives, that they were in the church to arrest the G.O. over a petition written by one John Ukachukwu, an estranged member of the church that wanted the refund of the sum of N350, 000.00 he had voluntarily paid as a tithe to the church a year earlier, expressed their disappointment at the embarrassing nature of the allegations.. and left the church premises in annoyance.
As soon as the JTF men left the church premises, the EFCC officials began another frenzy of assault on the church members, demanding that they produce the church G.O. who had earlier managed to escape. The EFCC officials went and ransacked the G.O’s office, carting away some official documents of the church and the sum of N400, 000.00 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira) kept in one of the G.O’s locker. While the second phase of the assault lasted, four Pastors of the church were arrested and locked in one of the EFCC buses in the hot sun. As if the earlier treatment was not dehumanizing enough, the arrested Pastors were subjected to all manner of torture for two days in the Port Harcourt office of the EFCC in the guise of interrogations. One of the lady Pastors, who is pregnant is presently bleeding and she is allegedly still unattended to in the Port Harcourt main prison due to this harsh and gruesome treatment. The pastors, who were arrested on Tuesday 8/10/2013, were finally arraigned in a military fashion in a court in Port Harcourt on Thursday, 10/10/2013, on two count charge of obstructing EFCC officials from carrying out their lawful duties.
In a very strange manner, while the lawyers to the accused Pastors were making efforts to meet the bail conditions granted their clients, the EFCC officials hurriedly went and dumped the Pastors again in one of the Port Harcourt prisons. The General Overseer, Rev. John Richard, in a petition dated 13th October, 2013 addressed to the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamurde, expressed “disgust at the conduct of the EFCC officials, wondering whether EFCC as an institution and a creation of law is saddled with the responsibility of recovery of debts, not to talk of a voluntary gift offering to a church. Above all, he stressed that the church pleaded with the EFCC not to loose focus of its statutory duty and degrade itself into the murky waters of fishing debts.
The fore going actions, he explained, have brought a scandal and smeared his reputation as a man of God even to the point that there is great fear of attack on members of the church if and when they come to church for fellowship and other activities on Sundays. By this calculated action of witch hunting, it is clear to all that the principal reason for this, is intended to frustrate, intimidate and close up the Church, which is a religious place to worship God. The G.O lamented, “the action is an infringement on my fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution”.
It is vital to bring to the fore and notice of all that the instigator of this barbaric and witch hunting spree is John Ukachukwu, who first took this matter of refund of voluntary gift offering to the church before a magistrate court in Port Harcourt for some months now through a summon of which he is the claimant and without patiently waiting for the conclusion of the case and judgment of the Honourable Court. He opted for jungle justice and resort to self help by falsely and treacherously inducing the EFCC officials to engage in an unwholesome duty. The said disgruntled John Ukachukwu in his petition to the EFCC office allegedly claimed to have given a voluntary gift offering of N350,000.00 but in his summon before the Honourable Magistrates Court, he rather allegedly claim it was N500,000.00, this showed the height of inconsistency and contradiction in the highest order.”

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