– Charges drop as Christ Embassy drags Akwa Ibom Government & CAN to court over church closure and arrest
Akwa Ibom State government has announced that the charges against Pastor Emmanuel Effiong of Christ Embassy Church, Nung Akpa Ime branch, Uyo has been dropped.
The State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Udoh disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday, the 24th of June, in Uyo. He further said that the government’s decision followed entreaties from well-meaning individuals and groups.
Recall that the state government had on Sunday, June 21, 2020, sealed off the Church branch, located close to the state house of assembly in Uyo, the state capital, and arrested Pastor Effiong alongside the videographer of the Church for alleged attack on members of the joint monitoring team enforcing compliance of the guidelines and protocols approved for churches reopening in the State.
Following the arrest and charges, Christ Embassy took a counter charge against Akwa Ibom government for sealing off the Church branch, taking legal actions against the state government, also included in the law suit is the State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Ndueso Ekwere, due to the activities of CAN in respect to the restriction on churches in the state.
It was also noted that the neither the pastor nor the church videographer attacked the members of the monitoring team, instead, it was the team who attacked the videographer.
However, things took a different turn on Wednesday when it was announced by the state government that the charges against the church has been dropped. Charles Udoh added that the church and the pastor have also tendered an unreserved apology to the State government and assured to adhere to all the guidelines and protocols adopted to prevent community spreading of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the State.
“Following entreaties from well-meaning individuals and groups, the Akwa Ibom State Government has dropped charges against Pastor Emmanuel Effiong of Christ Embassy Church, Nung Akpa Ime branch, off Nsikak Eduok Avenue, Uyo,” He said.
“The church and the pastor have since tendered an unreserved apology to the state government while promising to adhere to the Akwa Ibom State Government/Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)/World Health Organisation (WHO)/Christian Association (CAN) Guidelines and Protocols adopted to prevent community spreading of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in Akwa Ibom State.
“All churches are reminded of the need to ensure strict adherence to all stipulated guidelines”
Pastor Kelvin Atang of Christ Embassy, Uyo had in a statement made available to newsmen Monday explained that the state government sealed the church by acting on falsehood, noting that it was even the team that assaulted the church’s cameraman when they arrived the church premises.