Church members attack RRS, journalists-Coronavirus

Members of Victorious Army International Church, Ogba, Sunday allegedly attacked journalists attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) who were monitoring level of compliance on the restriction on social gathering as a measure to prevent Coronavirus pandemic in Lagos.

The state government at the weekend announced through its official Twitter handle that social gatherings should not exceed 20, a further reduction of the 50 earlier announced after a meeting with religious leaders on Wednesday.

Following this restriction, Commissioner of Police (CP) Hakeem Odumosu deployed personnel across the state to enforce compliance with senior officers assigned to head each delegation.

The RRS men who were led by Commander Olatunji Disu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) got to the church located along Acme Road around past 9am only to be locked out of the premises.

It was gathered that the journalists including TVC’s Ivy Kanu, a cameraman from the station and one of the media officers at RRS were physically resisted while documenting activities in the church.

As that was going on, other church officials were said to have scampered into the building to notify members of the presence of the police.

“When the entrance gate was opened, some belligerent church members who saw one of the enforcement officers recording the church activities attacked them, seized two mobile phones, a Samsung S8+ and Samsung J4.

“The members equally attacked TVC reporter, Ivy Kanu and almost seized her phone. TVC camera man was equally attacked as they tried unsuccessfully to prevent him from recording in and out of the church premises,” said a source who partook in the exercise.

To avoid escalating the issue, DCP Disu, it was gathered, prevailed on the management of the church to discontinue the service and subsequently prune down attendance to reflect the directive of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Meanwhile, of the two phones seized, only the Samsung J4 was produced by the church members who claimed that was the only phone they saw.

“But they called around 4pm that they have found the Samsung S8+. Because we were going to many places that morning, the Commander asked us to leave them when they insisted they did not seize any other phone. Now the church management has called that they have seen the phone,” the source added.

It was learnt that the team commenced enforcement around 7am and observed total compliance in most of the places visited.

“We visited religious organisations in Alausa, Agidingbi, ACME Road, Akilo, Ogba, Aguda, Yahaya Abatan, Omole, Ojodu, Ogudu, Oregun, Toyin, Ikeja GRA, Allen and Opebi. Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Olowopopo, Jobi Fele Way, Alapere, Oba Akran and Obafemi Awolowo Way.

“There was total compliance at almost all the places visited. Some churches visited had their services online while some had banners tied to their entrance informing worshippers to go back home.

“The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu has advised Lagosians, club owners and religious bodies to comply with State Government’s directive, as the police would continue to monitor compliance,” DCP Disu told our Correspondent. (The Nation)

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