To enforce the zero mega gathering government directive at churches, an Ogun task force of para-military men on Sunday swooped on some of the big worship centres across the state, chasing out defiant members and arresting the pastors.
Persecondnews reports that following a ban on gatherings with over 50 people, the state government had deployed the taskforce to monitor and enforce compliance.
In Sagamu about 30 kilometres from Abeokuta, the state capital, the armed security personnel drove out more than 50 members who congregated at the Apostolic Church and arrested the pastor in charge for violatiing the directive.
Leading the operation, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Toyin Afolaogun, “visited’’ churches in Abeokuta and sent them away.
Some of the churches visited include St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Ibara, nearby Celestial Church of Christ, and Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), Quarry Road.
Early morning mass was in progress at St. Anne’s when the monitoring team came calling.
Although the parishioners adhered to the social-distancing by their sitting arrangement, the security men carried out physical headcount.
“Since they were more than 50, the team dispersed them and ordered their re-assembling for the approved number,’’ a source said.
As early as 6.30am, the team was at the Winners Chapel and asked faithful who had massed for the early morning service to either comply with the directive by limiting the number of worshippers to 50 or go home.
At the Celestial Church of Christ, Ibara, a notice was conspicuously displayed at the church gate, informing members of indefinite suspension of services.
The notice reads: “In compliance with the state government’s directives on Coronavirus, church members and visitors are hereby advised to stay away from the church premises until further notice. Please, pray at home.”
At the end of the exercise, CSP Afolaogun told reporters that compliance rate was about 80 per cent.
He said: “So far, so good; we have recorded about 80 per cent compliance. The church that did not comply, we politely told them to comply accordingly.
“We politely told them to leave and re-assemble themselves.
“Anybody who fails to comply with directives of the state government, for sure, will face the wrath of the law.
“We want to appeal to the general public to comply with the directives of the state government. Every directive should be complied with.”