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Ebonyi, Kaduna governments arrest nine pastors for holding church services

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• FRSC seizes 321 offenders for overloading
The Ebonyi State government yesterday disclosed that it arrested no fewer than seven pastors for disobeying its restriction on ban on religious gatherings and other forms of assembly in the state.

Confirming the arrests, Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, Stanley Okoro Emegha said the arrest would serve as deterrent to other pastors who may decide to violate government’s directive.

To curtail the spread of coronavirus, the state government had banned wedding ceremonies, burial ceremonies, night clubs, sporting activities, religious activities, bars and gathering of over 50 persons other than essential service centres such as markets, rice mills and banks.

Emegha said the pastors were arrested and handed over to the police for violating the ban on religious gathering noting that the arrest was not to witch hurt them but to save lives.

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He noted the pastors themselves know the situation at ground and how coronavirus is ravaging the whole world stressing that they should take the lead in protecting lives rather than flouting government’s order.

Also in Kaduna, security agents arrested two pastors for holding church services last Sunday in violation of the lockdown order.

In a statement issued by Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, the state government gave the names of the clerics as Ifeanyi Ojonu and Giniki Okafor who held church services at Sabon Tasha area of Chikun Council Area of the state.

He said the suspects were arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court on Monday, April 6, 2020, adding that the suspects were charged with criminal conspiracy and disobedience to an order duly promulgated under sections 59 and 115 of the Penal Code.

Meanwhile, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has arrested 321 offenders for violating the social distancing order by overloading their vehicles.

A statement by the Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, revealed that the arrests were made with from Sunday, 30 March to April 6, 2020 owing to the presidential directive on social distancing.

Giving details of the arrests, he said, “Within the first week of the enforcement, the FRSC has recorded 321 arrests for overloading and violation of the social distance directive.”

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