Ondo govt shuts Christian leaders out of prayer meeting

Rotimi Akeredolu

The Ondo State government on Thursday, shut out Christian leaders out of the International Event Centre, (the Dome) in Akure, the State capital.

The State government restrained them from holding their annual prayer summit in the state.

The Christian leaders under the aegis of the Niger Delta Christian Leaders Forum (NDCLF) had gathered in the state for a programme tagged: “2017 Prayer Summit” to make intercession for Nigeria.

The members, who also comprised the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN), were drawn from the nine states of Niger Delta.

When our reporter went to the venue, he met thousands of people in aggrieved mood, chanting abusive words on the state government for sending them out of the dome.

However, the state has been using the DOME for the 2nd National Council on Niger Delta (NCND) summit since last week Thursday.

But as of the time the CAN was sent out of the hall, NCND events were not taking place, as the delegates were resting in their various hotels ahead of the dinner taking place on Thursday night.

The Christian leaders who had gained entrance into the hall for the three-hour prayer, were ordered out by government officials, who locked the entrances to the hall.

Most of the participants who spoke with journalists expressed disappointment and regreted that a Christian governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) could treat fellow Christians in such manner.

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Pastor Benaiah Moses, an overseer from Edo State, lamented that “this is quite unfortunate. Imagine, they sent us out after they had assured us of using the venue, giving an excuse that the place is reserved for dinner.

“Can this ever happen with other religions? I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t allow us to use the hall this morning, or in the least, give us an alternative,” he said.

The delegates were pacified by the leadership of the association and mobilized to the front of the dome to pray under the scorching sun.

However, the NDCLF National President and former CAN chieftain, Bishop Ayo Oritsejafor, said the refusal did not irk the association and that there was no disappointment since prayer could be offered anywhere.

Oritsejafor, who was represented by the General Secretary, Bishop Dr. Eddy Bebor, stressed that they were resolute to seek God’s intervention for lasting solutions to problems facing the Niger Delta.

Bebor, who pacified the aggrieved and embittered delegates, explained that Bishop Oristjafor was unavoidably absent.

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi said he was not aware of such scheduled programme.

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