The Akwa Ibom State government said it has sealed off the headquarters of the popular pentecostal church, Christ Embassy, in Uyo.
The Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Emmanuel Ekuwem, said the church’s pastors and members “attacked and brutalised” COVID-19 monitoring team who were at the church on Sunday to monitor compliance with the guidelines and protocols adopted to prevent community spread of coronavirus in the state.
The monitoring team comprises government officials and officials of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
“In response to this act of lawlessness by that church and in order to avoid the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in Akwa Ibom State, the Christ Embassy Church building and premises are hereby sealed up with immediate effect till further notice,” Mr Ekuwem said in the statement.
“The suspected pastors and relevant members of the church will be made to face the wrath of the law,” he added.
Christ Embassy has, however, refuted the claims made by the Akwa Ibom government.
The government, the church said in a statement, acted “based on tissues of lies and absolute falsehood that only occurred in the figment of the imaginations of those peddling same”.
The statement, signed by Kelvin James, a pastor, said the church was already done with its Sunday service when the monitoring team arrived, and that a church worker who filmed the arrival of the team was assaulted and a church camera confiscated from him.
The church said it adhered to the guidelines by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in its Sunday service.