-As Council Chair Invites Pastor For Questioning
By Daniel Dafe
The Sunday worship service of a popular church in Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, New Foundation Gospel Ministry International, Urhuoka, was yesterday interrupted, when members of the COVID-19 Task Force stormed the church’s premises to shut down the worship centre, alleging that the pastor, Matthew Assa prayed for a COVID-19 patient that eventually died.
Comrade Bayo Eyube, leader of the team, disclosed that the reason for their visit to the church was because there was an allegation that the pastor, Matthew Assa made contact with a lady that is suspected to have died from COVID-19 complications.
The said suspected case is an indigene of Urhuoka in Abraka but resides in Benin City, Edo State.
Eyube alleged that she was prayed for by the pastor who also anointed her with oil and thus made contact with her after she attended one of their services recently when she sought for spiritual help to tackle her health challenge.
“We actually went there yesterday to see the pastor after we learnt that he had contact with her, but were shocked that the church was also not obeying the COVID-19 guidelines and had to shut it down.
“The pastor will appear in Isiokolo today for questioning by the council chair. He may be quarantined if the whole story is corroborated by him and then tested. If he turns out positive then we will have to think of how to do contact tracing and isolate the members that may have had contact with her also,” he added.
Meanwhile, a leader in the church who spoke to us under conditions of anonymity, said: “The church has done their own investigation and the young lady did not die from COVID-19. Her corpse was even deposited at the morgue before she was buried. If it was COVID-19 would they have taken her remains into the morgue?
“It was an issue of kidney and liver failure. A medical operation was done for her that she could not survive. The elder brother to the deceased has gone to Warri to get her medical report and we will be going to see the Council Chairman this morning. She did not die of COVID-19.”
On his part, Pastor Assa expressed shock at the whole development, adding that at the time the task force came they were yet to start their service.
Furthermore, he claimed that he was putting on his facemask at the time the task force came.
He continued: “I am surprised with what is happening. Yesterday, I was shocked to see lots of indigenes, team of the police and vigilante members. Is it because I am a Calabar man; are the Urhuoka people trying to reject the church? I did not know of her medical condition before I prayed for her. I have been praying for the sick before now. So what is my crime now?”
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