AKWA IBOM, Nigeria – Police in Akwa Ibom State on Monday said they sealed the Qua Iboe Church located at No. 112 Ikot Ekpene road, Uyo Akwa Ibom State capital on Sunday to forestall further clash among worshippers in the church.
The state Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed, who said this while responding to the issue, disclosed that there was a clash among the worshippers, last Sunday leading to many of them sustaining injuries in the process.
He said police got information that one of the factions in the dispute was coming in to forment trouble and decided to seal the church to prevent further break down of law and order.
His words, “police seal the church to prevent crisis. Last Sunday there was a crisis among the worshippers in which many people were injured. We got information that a faction of the church was coming there to cause trouble, so our officers were there to prevent further clash”.
An Aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, who earlier confirmed the incident but pleaded anonymity said “ Yes, I saw something like that this morning when I was passing along Ikot-Ekpene road. I saw the police gathered and about three vans and church worshipers in large numbers.”
It was gathered that the police arrived the church premises as early as 6am and barricaded the entrance, preventing the early morning worshipers from going in to worship.
Governor Udom Emmanuel and some prominent members of the church were allegedly accused of having personal interest in the matter rocking the church.
But speaking on Sunday, against the backdrop of insinuations, the governor declared that he has no personal interest in the crisis, adding that he was rather committed to ensuring that peace return to the United Evangelical Church which was originally founded as Qua Iboe Church.
Governor Emmanuel, who said he has been making progress in bringing peace and harmony between the two contending parties, urged agents of blackmail to direct their miss-applied talents elsewhere.
He said “It is very wrong for certain elements to make unfounded allegations concerning my role in the local assembly on Ikot Ekpene road,” said the Governor at a peace parley with the two parties.
“In a peace meeting I had with the leadership of the church on Thursday September 26, I had outlined the processes and plans for peace to return to both the local and the national leadership of the church.
“The parties were very satisfied with the plans outlined and went back very happy. Very soon, we hope to see the full restoration of peace and understanding between the two groups.
“I think it is sad and unfortunate for some people to exploit the matter and make unfounded allegations against me,” Governor Emmanuel added