The Pastor of Divine Glory Outreach International Church in Ojokoro area of Agbado Oke Odo LCDA has been arrested and the church shut after allegedly violating government’s directive on social distancing measures.
The church is located at 1,Jolaosho Close, off Lewis Avenue, General Bus Stop, Ojokoro in Agbado/Okeodo LCDA, Lagos State.
As part of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease in Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-olu had issued the directive against gatherings above 20 people, which by implication affects churches, mosques, social events like weddings, birthday parties and other crowd pulling gatherings.
Why the arrest
The LCDA Chairman, Dr Augustine Arogundade, who disclosed this, said a distress call by a good Samaritan led to the arrest of the pastor and closure of the church.
“Despite the warnings to the Churches not to congregate more than 20 people in the Church, Pastor Benjamin Eze of the above Church at early hours of 8am congregated a large audience in his Church. A distress call by good Samaritan led to the arrest and closure of the Church,” he said.
Dr Arogundade appealed to residents in the LCDA to abide by government’s directives to solve the coronavirus problem.
“Please stay at home for two weeks. Postpone all engagements, events and parties until after the control. Increase personal and environmental hygiene,” he appealed while praying for God’s protection for all.
Stakeholders’ meeting convened
Meanwhile, the chairman has convened a sensitization and awareness meeting with stakeholders over the pandemic.
The stakeholders include the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop TOS Owoeye, the Chief Imam, Alhaji Raji Ajani, CDC Chairman, Mr. E. O Kasunmu and the Iya Oja, Mrs Alabi Georg and Baba Oja General, Alhaji Abiodun Kosoko.
The meeting, according to a statement by the Media Aide to the Chairman, Edafe Oghenebrume, was meant to intimate stakeholders about the plan of the LCDA to enforce the directives of Lagos state government in ensuring total lockdown of religious centres, event centres, and crowded places, in order to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
According to Dr. Arogundade, “Prevention is better than cure. I am forced to convene this meeting to inform you all as leaders of religious organisations, community development associations, and markets, that we can no longer treat this issue of coronavirus with levity.
“I urge you all to work in hand with the LCDA and Lagos state government in educating your congregations as religious leaders, residents of your communities as community development associations’ leaders, and traders in our various markets, as market leaders, for them to stay at home for now till government is able to curtail this deadly virus.”
He said that sanitizers and fumigation materials have been made available for distribution.
Enforcement to commence immediately
The Vice Chairman, Engineer David Famuyiwa, who doubles as the Supervisor for Environment, told the meeting that security operatives and environmental officers would start patrolling the nooks and crannies of the LCDA to ensure compliance.
The Chief Imam, Alhaji Raji Ajani, commended the Chairman for being proactive by calling the stakeholders’ meeting.
He appealed for effective monitoring of the enforcement, and called for the fumigation of churches and mosques environments despite the lockdown.
The Baba-Oja General, Chief Abiodun Kosoko, reiterated the need to fumigate markets, especially Okeodo market which is close to the dump site at Katangowa.
He urged the government to work on the stench oozing from the dump site and evacuation of the scavengers there.
The meeting also had in attendance the Council Manager, Mrs Olapeju Akin-Ajayi, the Secretary to the Local Government, Alhaja Gbemisola Abiodun Ayilara, the Council Treasurer, Mrs Morenike Babs-Ogunleye, the Chief of Staff, Babatunde Edun and others.