Religious leaders in Imo State may now be arrested for what they say or probably did not say on the pulpit.
Last week, operatives of the Imo State Police Command arrested a pastor in the Assemblies of God Church in Owerri, Chukwuma Okezuo, for allegedly giving prophecies against the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, during a church service.
The state Police Public Relations Officer , Mr. Andrew Enwerem , who paraded the cleric before newsmen on Tuesday, accused him of giving a malicious prophesy during Sunday’s church service in the Uratta area of Owerri .
The pastor was alleged to have said in his prophecy that the governor was recruiting young boys in the state with the sole aim of kidnapping children between zero and 10 years for ritual purposes.
The police spokesperson said the pastor prophesied that Governor Okorocha was allegedly engaging in the ritual exercises towards the 2019 governorship election in the state. He added that the “false prophecy” is capable of causing rancor and panic in the state.
“I parade before you one acclaimed pastor, Chukwuma Okezuo, of Assemblies of God Church. He was arrested during a church service last Sunday (July 8) at Owaelu Uratta over false prophecies against the person of the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.
“The suspect, while on the pulpit, made false prophecies against the governor that he was recruiting young boys to be kidnapping children between zero and 10 years for ritual purposes. He falsely prophesied that the governor was engaging in the ritual purposes with the sole aim of winning the 2019 governorship election and therefore asked the congregation to pray.
“This false prophecy, by this acclaimed pastor, is very malicious and capable of causing rancour, panic, anxiety and disintegrating the state. The Imo State Police Command, under the leadership of Commissioner of Police, Mr. Dasuki Galandanchi would not watch the people jeopardize the peace of the state.
“Religious leaders should be mindful of the things they say. We will charge the suspect to court for legal action,” he added.
However, Reverend Okezuo has denied the allegations. The pastor said instead, he told the congregation to pray against untimely death and spiritual manipulations without mentioning anybody’s name.
Okezuo said also he shared the confession of a boy, supposedly a new member, who told him during prayers that he was brought from Rivers State and allegedly being trained to kidnap children.
He said the boy simply called Dave told him that one of our governor’s men, without mentioning a name, brought him to Imo State, promising to give him an orientation on how he would be bringing children from a day old to ten years. Okezuo denied mentioning anybody’s name while narrating the story.
“I did not offer any false prophecy or allegation against the person of His Excellency our Governor. I went to a branch of Assemblies of God church at Owaelu in Uratta, where we were having an exchange of pulpit on Sunday 8th July, 2018, where I was sent to preach.
“I asked the church to pray against the spirit of untimely death around us and in the church and narrated a story of what happened in my church in Amakohia where a boy who said he had a confession to make was sent to me by an elder of the church, on Monday, in the month of May, while I was handling water baptism preparatory class,” Okezuo said.