Gunmen kill Three In Anambra Church

A file photo of a gun seized from crime suspects in Nigeria.

 

Gunmen have stormed a church in Azia, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State killing a man and two others.

The man, identified as Ken Ekwesianya, was murdered alongside his wife and daughter on Thursday night.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mohammed Haruna, confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Friday.

READ ALSO: Troops Rescue Kidnap Victim, Arrest Suspects In Jos

He said investigations were ongoing to unravel the circumstances leading to the incident, reiterating the police commitment to arresting the culprits.

“Investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident and effort is being intensified in order to arrest perpetrators of the dastardly act and bring them to justice,” he said.

Pope Dedicates World Day To ‘Forgotten’ Grandparents

File Photo: Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP.


Pope Francis on Sunday announced a Catholic Church-wide celebration of grandparents and the elderly, to be marked each year in July.

“Grandparents are often forgotten,” the 84-year-old said as he led the weekly Angelus prayer from the Apostolic Palace, adding that “old age is a gift”.

“Grandparents are the link between generations, to pass on to the young the experience of life and faith.”

READ ALSO: Israel To Send 5,000 Vaccine Doses To Palestinians

The Argentine pontiff said the World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly would be held on the fourth Sunday of July each year.

Francis will preside over the evening mass on July 25 at St Peter’s on the first World Day, subject to coronavirus restrictions, the Vatican said.

Ondo Pastor Jailed Two Years For False Allegation Against Church Founder

A map of Ondo, a state in south-west Nigeria.

 

An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has sentenced a Pastor, John Abiodun to two years imprisonment over a false allegation against the founder of an Akure-based church.

Earlier in 2019, the pastor had been dragged before the court for lying against the founder of the Promiseland Prophetic Ministry, Akure, Pastor Gbenga Akinbiyi.

Abiodun alleged that seven placentas were buried on the church’s altar.

Akinbiyi thereafter dragged Abiodun, a former member of the church, to the court.

Abiodun, alongside a lecturer of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Prof Lanre Olu-Adeyemi were arraigned before the court on eight counts bordering on conspiracy, publications of false information, perjury, impersonation, threatening violence amongst others.

READ ALSO: Alleged N2.2 billion Fraud: Fayose’s Trial Stalled As EFCC Witness Contracts COVID-19

The second defendant, Olu-Adeyemi, was said to be the administrator of the WhatsApp group, through which the false publication and accusation was circulated.

Delivering the judgment on Thursday, the trial judge, Justice Bode Adegbehingbe found Abiodun who is the first defendant guilty of count 5 of the charge for contradicting himself while giving evidence on the allegation against him.

The judge listed allegations against the Abiodun to include using different church WhatsApp platforms and other social media to malign, carry out false publication and wrongly accuse the founder of the church.

The court, however, found Abiodun guilty of committing perjury which is punishable under Section 118 of the criminal code, laws of Ondo State.

The judge also held that, in law, anybody found guilty of perjury was liable to life or 14 years imprisonment but due to the plea by the defence counsel, Mr Olanrewaju Adesanmi, who pleaded leniency, the jail term was reduced to two years.

The second defendant, Olu-Adeyemi was, however, discharged and acquitted due to lack of evidence against him.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Kayode Dare expressed satisfaction with the judgement.

Police Arrest Ex-Guard For Stealing Church Offering Box In Ogun

The suspect

 

The Ogun State Police Command has arrested a former guard, Mela Samaila, for allegedly stealing the offering box of the Grace Nations Church, aka Liberation City.

In a statement issued on Friday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the suspect who worked for the church as a security official, broke into the auditorium.

According to the police spokesman, Samaila, reportedly stole the offering box containing an undisclosed amount of money in the church located at Ojodu Abiodun in the Ifo Local Government Area of Ogun State.

READ ALSO: Troops Rescue Three Abducted Victims, Kill Bandit, Several Insurgents

The suspect was said to be arrested following a distress call received by the police at the Ojodu Abiodun Divisional Headquarters from security men on duty at the church.

To Oyeyemi, the suspect broke into the church around 4am on Thursday, noting that the guards told the police that a thief scaled the fence of the church, broke into the main auditorium and made away with the church’s offering box.

“Upon the distress call, the DPO Ojodu Abiodun division, CSP Eyitayo Akinluwade, quickly mobilised his patrol team to the scene, combed the area and succeeded in arresting the suspect with the help of the security men of the church and the offering box was recovered from him,” he said.

“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was once a security man in the church, but was relieved of his duty due to some untoward behaviour.”

Meanwhile, the state Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, has directed that the suspect be charged to court.

Wike Charges The Church To ‘Speak Out’ On National Issues

 

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has charged the church across the country to speak up against societal ills and injustice so leaders can take a cue to correct anomalies associated with the government’s policies and programmes.

Governor Wike made the statement when the new Primate of All Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt.

“This is the time for the church not to be docile,” he said. “This is the time for the church to speak out.

“When society is bad, it affects the church; when governance is bad, it affects the church. No matter how you look at it, nobody can run away. Things are not working out well in the country. ”

Most Rev. Ndukuba, who was accompanied by other bishops of the church, commended the Governor’s leadership, courage, and firmness.

 

Thousands Of Faithful Gather As Angolan Church Reopens

Members of the congregation practice social distancing at the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ In the World in Luanda on September 20, 2020 during the Sunday service. – Thousands of congregants gathered at a mega Church in Luanda for the first religious celebrations since March 2020 when gathering were banned on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Osvaldo Silva / AFP)

 

Thousands of Angolan Christians attended a church service in Luanda on Sunday, their first since coronavirus restrictions forced them to stay home six months ago.

At least 3,000 parishioners dressed in white gathered at the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ In the World, also known as the Tocoist Church.

They sat on chairs arranged around a metre (yard) apart for an open air service at the mega church in the Golfe II suburb.

The service lasted 90 minutes, much shorter than the traditional five hours, an AFP photographer said.

Religious gatherings were banned in March when Angola’s government imposed restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It has infected more than 3,900 people in Angola and killed at least 147 to date.

Early this month, government announced that churches were free to resume services and celebrate mass, under strict mandatory use of face masks.

It also ordered that gatherings be held in well-ventilated spaces to limit the spread of the virus.

Members of the congregation raise their hands in prayer at the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ In the World during the Sunday service in Luanda on September 20, 2020. – Thousands of congregants gathered at a mega Church in Luanda for the first religious celebrations since March 2020 when gathering were banned on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Osvaldo Silva / AFP)

Face masks on and bibles in hand, parishioners orderly filed one at a time into the church complex through a gate.

Except for choir members, the worshippers sang hymns with their masks on and waved white handkerchiefs.

“Six months later! Oh yes! It’s been a long time, especially for us Christians…It seems like five, six years… have passed,” said a smiling Clara Cale, 57, after the service.

“We are here to celebrate our immense joy,” she said.

Don Afonso Nunes, a church leader, was relieved at the decision to allow churches to resume services.

“Thanks to God, today is a great day to resume our worship and we have to celebrate,” he said.

AFP

Southern Kaduna Killings: Christians Declare One Month Prayer, Fasting

Christians praying in church (File Photo)

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State has declared a non-denominational prayer and fasting rally to seek for God’s intervention on the incessant attacks by gunmen in some communities in the southern part of the state.

Speaking during the prayer session held at ECWA Church in the Kaduna State capital on Sunday, the state CAN Chairman, Reverend Joseph Hayab and the state Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Hassan Hyet, both faulted the government and security agencies for not doing enough to stop the killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna.

The CAN Chairman specifically asked the presidency to stop being the mouthpiece of the bandits going by its recent statement on the southern Kaduna killings, even as he described the attacks on mostly Christians communities as an ethnic cleansing.

Read Also: Southern Kaduna Lawmakers Call For Arrest, Prosecution Of Perpetrators

But the Commander of Operation Safe Haven which is involved in the ongoing security operations in southern Kaduna and Platuea State, Major General Chukwuemeka Okonkwo, says the attacks are pure reprisals and counter reprisals carried out by the Fulani communities and Southern Kaduna natives, and therefore, has no ethnic agenda.

He, however, added that enough is being done by security agencies to bring lasting peace to Southern Kaduna, while he also called on both parties to sheath their swords.

Muted Easter Sunday At Jerusalem’s Church Of Holy Sepulchre

A Christian clergyman waits for the Easter Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre before the start of the Easter Sunday service amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Jerusalem’s Old City on April 12, 2020. – All cultural sites in the Holy Land are shuttered, regardless of their religious affiliation, as authorities seek to forestall the spread of the deadly respiratory disease. Christians will be prevented from congregating for the Easter service, whether this coming Sunday — as in the case of Bitar and fellow Catholics — or a week later on April 19 in the case of the Orthodox. Sebastian Scheiner / POOL / AFP.

 

A handful of priests celebrated Easter on Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified and resurrected.

In the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, the church — which had not been closed over Easter for at least a century — has been shuttered to worshippers along with all cultural sites in the Holy Land to curb the spread of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.

“Easter is a time for life,” said Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, who arrived at the church under the watchful eye of Israeli security forces.

“Despite the signs of death everywhere, life will prevail as long as someone is giving life out of love for others,” he added, before entering the church.

A few faithful had gathered at the church’s inner courtyard, including one man in an immaculate white gown who had prayed in front of the closed door.

The Sepulchre is considered the holiest site in Christianity, and it typically attracts thousands of worshippers over the Easter weekend.

READ ALSO: EASTER: Pope Offers Prayer For COVID-19 Sick

But the Old City, in east Jerusalem, has been rendered a ghost town following strict social distancing measures imposed by Israel, which has reported nearly 11,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six day war and later annexed it, in a move never recognised by the international community.

AFP

Pope Skips Mass Due To ‘Mild Ailment’ – Vatican

Pope Francis arrives to lead his weekly general audience on St.Peter’s square on February 26, 2020. Tiziana FABI / AFP.

 

Pope Francis cancelled a scheduled appearance at mass in Rome on Thursday because of “a mild ailment”, the Vatican said, the day after he appeared to be suffering a cold.

“Due to a mild ailment, he preferred to stay in the vicinity of Saint Martha’s,” the guest house at the Vatican where the 83-year old pontiff lives, chief press officer Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

The mass in question was at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, one of Rome’s biggest and largest churches.

Bruni said the Argentine’s schedule remained otherwise unchanged.

The announcement came as Italy struggles to control the largest outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe with some 400 cases.

The Vatican made no reference to the disease in its announcement.

Francis has not curtailed any of his activities, which often include mingling with crowds and shaking hands.

The pontiff, who only has one lung and suffers problems with one hip, very rarely cancels an appointment in his busy schedule.

Vatican News said the pope had earlier Thursday celebrated the daily mass at Saint Martha’s House, before meeting members of a global Catholic climate movement as planned.

AFP

Ondo Youths Set Church Ablaze Over Alleged Dig-Up Of Baby From Premises

 

Angry youths have burnt down a church in Akure, the Ondo State capital after the corpse of a 12 months old boy was allegedly exhumed from the premises.

The one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole, was declared missing on November 10, during church service at the children’s section of Sotitobire Praying Ministry in the Ondo State capital.

The situation turned violent after news filtered that the corpse of the missing one-year-old was found inside the church premises.

An eyewitness told Channels Television that rumours had filtered onto the streets that the body of the missing boy had been exhumed from the church premises which triggered the attack.

Kolawole’s mother, Modupe raised an alarm after he went missing during a church service in November.

Speaking to Channels Television, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Undie Adie, however, said that nobody was exhumed from the church premises.

RELATED: Family, Prophet Trade Blame Over Disappearance Of Minor From Ondo Church

He however confirmed that the founder of the church, Alfa Babatunde has been taken into the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) for questioning.

He also confirmed that a number of casualties were recorded during the attack on the church, but insists his men were only on the ground to maintain law and order.

Since the disappearance of the one-year-old boy, his parents and the General-Overseer have been trading blames over his disappearance.

See photos below: 

Teenager Arrested For ‘Stealing’ Tithes, Offerings In Church

File photo

 

The police have arrested 18-year-old Elikor Ehud for allegedly stealing tithes and offering worth N670, 000 from the altar in a church.

Ehud was arrested after Pastor Moses Nwoke of Divine Chosen Vine Ministry, Furniture Avenue, Ejigbo reported to the police after church service that unknown persons broke the wooden boxes placed on the altar meant for tithes and special seeds of faith offering and stole the money.

READ ALSO: Troops Kill Bandit, Destroy Two Camps Used For Kidnapping In Kaduna

According to the police, in a statement signed by its spokesperson, DSP Bala Elkana, the suspect confessed to stealing the cash from the church boxes.

He also mentioned one Lucky as his accomplice, and the police say efforts are on to apprehend the said accomplice.

The Police spokesperson added that Ehud was arrested on Tuesday, October 15 and will be charged to court.

 

Six Cultists and Gangsters Arrested In Alapere

Also, operatives of Operation Crush attached to Alapere Division have arrested some gangsters suspected to be members of Eiye and Aiye Confraternity, after engaging in a battle of supremacy with dangerous weapons such as axe and cutlass, at Demurin area, Alapere.

The team, led by the Divisional Police Officer Alapere arrested two key leaders of the gangs namely, Olawale Toheeb and Joseph Obinna.

According to the statement by the police spokesperson, four additional suspects namely, Obasi Ekene, Promise Onoja, OgoekeWeri Omokosi, and Saviour Edet, were arrested at their hideout in Mack Brown Hotel, Church Street Alapere.

“The suspects confessed to belong to Eiye and Aiye Confraternity respectively and are responsible for series of violent attacks recorded in Alapere and environ.

“A large quantity of weeds suspected to be Indian hemp, short axes and Cutlasses were recovered from their hideout. The suspects will be charged to court,” the statement added.

Gunmen Kill Four At Catholic Parade In Burkina Faso

 

Gunmen killed four Catholics in a religious procession in northern Burkina Faso a day after a priest and five parishioners were murdered at mass, church officials said Tuesday.

The parade with a statue of the Virgin Mary was moving through the town of Ouahigouya on Monday when “a group of terrorists intercepted the procession, killing four worshippers and burning the statue,” said a spokesman for the Ouagadougou Cathedral.

According to the Burkina Faso news agency AIB, the assailants stopped the procession. “They let the minors go, executed four adults, and destroyed the statue,” it quoted a local person as saying.

Paul Ouedraogo, president of the Episcopal Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger, told a meeting of bishops in the capital Ouagadougou the attack had claimed four lives.

The killings came a day after a group of 20-30 armed men, according to witnesses, burst into the Catholic church in Dablo, also in the Nord Region of Burkina Faso, shooting dead five parishioners and their priest.

The attackers set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the health centre, which they looted, burning the chief nurse’s vehicle.

Two days earlier, French special forces had freed four foreign hostages in Burkina Faso during an overnight raid that cost the lives of two soldiers.

“This concerns all of us whatever our religion or ethnicity,” said President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

“Stick together”

Kabore urged his compatriots to “stick together,” warning such attacks threatened to undermine religious coexistence in a country where some two thirds of the population are Muslim to one third Christian.

“Burkina Faso is confronted by a difficult situation,” said Kabore. “These terrorists have remodelled their modus operandi. First, by creating inter-communcal conflicts and today inter-religious conflicts as Christians have been killed for their faith, for merely practising their religion.

“Burkina has always been reputed as being a tolerant country. We must work to safeguard this richness passed down to us by our ancestors,” said Kabore, a Catholic.

Two weeks ago, there was a similar attack against a Protestant church in Silgadji, also in the north, when gunmen on motorbikes killed a pastor and five worshippers.

Burkina has suffered from increasingly frequent and deadly attacks attributed to a number of jihadist groups, including the Ansarul Islam group, the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) and Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

The raids began in 2015 in the north before targeting the capital Ouagadougou and other regions, notably in the east.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since 2015 — mainly in hit-and-run raids — according to an AFP tally.

Jihadist groups target Christian clerics as well as Muslim ones they do not consider sufficiently radical in a country where traditionally both religions have co-existed peaceably.

Last month, jihadists attacked a village school in Maitaougou, in the eastern province of Koulpelogo, killing five teachers and a municipal worker.

Former colonial ruler France has deployed 4,500 troops in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to help local forces flush out jihadists.