Three pastors on Sunday in Abuja dramatically disowned their members to evade arrest by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Ministerial Enforcement Taskforce on Covid-19 Restriction.
The pastors who organized the church service in contravention of the ban placed on worship in churches and mosques by the FCT administration tried to blend with the congregation on sighting the Task Force team.
The pastors had partitioned the rocks behind the Federal Housing Authority, Lugbe, as their worship centres but denied ownership of the centres and the congregations to the team.
They were however identified as Pastor Ibitoye Kayode of the Liberty Faith Gospel Church, Pastor Joshua Olaniru of Liberty Gate Ministry and Pastor Vitalis Udeazi of Dominion Chapel.
It was reported that trouble started when the task team stormed the area but could not differentiate worshippers and their religious leaders.
According to reports, after brief interrogation, the three clerics were identified from the crowd although Pastor Udeazi tried to conceal his identity.
He denied that any his members were present at the time the members of the task force arrived the mountain top.
His denials were however countered by the pastors who protested vehemently that he was one of them.
The members however, identified him as their pastor, although he still insisted that they were his prayer members.
Also, Pastor Olaniru, who also denied any wrongdoing, was identified in a video while conducting service before the arrival of the task force team.
The Chairman of the task force, Ikharo Attah who led the team, expressed disappointment with the clerics for denying the large group of worshippers.
Attah said: “No one among you agreed that anyone came to worship in his Church even when they turned out in large numbers. One of you even went ahead to deny being a Pastor.”
He cautioned them against holding worship service in defiant of the presidential directive.
The pastors were subsequently arraigned before the Mobile court presided by Magistrate Idayat Akonni who imposed a N5,000 on each of them, in addition to three hours community service.