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Akwa Ibom government seals church over resistance to monitoring

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Nigerians seek democracy that nurtures economy, says commissioner
Akwa Ibom State Government has sealed a new generation church in the state for barring the Church Monitoring Committee from accessing the church premises to ascertain the level of compliance to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols.

Members of the committee were yesterday prevented by able-bodied men at the instance of the church from enforcing compliance to government’s guidelines for church reopening.

When the Enobong Uwah-led monitoring committee for Uyo capital city arrived the church about 11 a.m. after visiting other churches, it met a stonewall of over six able-bodied men who asked the monitoring team to leave, insisting that they would not be allowed entry.

All entreaties from Uwah and other members of the team, including the state chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Ndueso Ekwerre, and security agencies fell on deaf ears.

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To avoid a scuffle, Uwah asked the committee members, after a heated argument, to depart.

Presiding pastor of the church, Emmanuel Effiong, told newsmen at the church headquarters in Uyo, that CAN’s agreement with the government on the guidelines for church re-opening would not be binding on members of the church, which, he disclosed, was not a member of CAN or any of its five affiliate bodies.

Consequently, the state government through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, ordered the sealing up of the church premises, adding that the church members and their leaders would be made to face the law.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Environment and Petroleum Resources, Dr. Sampson Ekong, has said that Nigerians look forward to a democracy that nurtures the economy, as healthy economy boosts democracy.

In a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday, he asserted that Nigeria would do well when policies drive politics and not vice versa, adding that the more institutions were strengthened in the country, the safer its democracy.

Ekong explained that justice, as the main driver of peace, needed to be taken into consideration in the country to achieve the much-desired peace in the country.

His words: “We look forward to a Nigerian democracy where policies drive politics. Nigeria will do well when policies drive politics and not politics driving policies, which is tantamount to subversion of the ingredients of democracy.

“This is a time to compare notes on democracy and to examine how far we have marched on, where we got it right and where we got it wrong. We look forward to a healthier economy that will boost, develop and nurture our democracy, because a weak economy puts pressure on democracy.

“We look forward to a Nigeria where the various pluralities are given access to opportunities. We all want a Nigeria that shows respect for human rights and due process.”

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