Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja has released a statement on the arrest of some youths wearing T-shirts branded with the inscription #BuhariMustGo during a church service on Sunday.
The church debunked the statement which claimed that the youths walked up to the altar as first-timers and were arrested by the church and handed over to the Department of State Services (DSS).
This was conveyed in a released statement tagged ‘Arrest and detention of protesters – the truth you need to know’, dated 6th July 2021, and signed by Dr. Ada Ochowechi.
The statement explained that after the youths departed the altar, they protested by blowing trumpets and saxophones right from the exit door of the church.
It said the protest was being live-streamed with the church building as the background.
It said, “The church holds three services every Sunday, and the Senior Pastor, Dr Paul Enenche preaches in all the services. After the sermon in the first service that Sunday, an altar call was made, to which many people came out, including the said youths. And nothing happened to them. No one questioned the legality or otherwise of the inscription on their T-shirts.
“However, soon after they departed from the altar, they swung into a protest with blowing trumpets and saxophones right from the exit door of the church. At the same time, the event was being covered and live-streamed with the background shots of the church building and those of the thronging crowd, both exiting and entering the sanctuary for the next service. The live streaming had the caption: BUHARI MUST GO Campaign Hits Dunamis Church in Abuja.”
The church management said it found the action of the activists intriguing for many reasons.
“No one knew who they were or where they came from. No one knew the organisation they represented as well as their ultimate agenda until the DSS apprehended them.
“No standard rule of engagement was followed as they sneaked into the church and swung into protest on a holy day of services.
“Moreover, the church is not an activism ground, but a centre for the projection of trust against all forms of evil. The church is non-political and non-partisan and thus, not an appropriate ground for political protest. It is not the seat of government where those being protested against reside.”
“As intriguing as it was to a common onlooker, so was it to members of undercover security on the premises for routine duties. Acting in their line of duty, the DSS officials arrested the protesters,” the church added.
However, human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore has described the church statement as false on so many levels.
He noted that Enenche and his wife, Becky, whom he, Deji Adeyanju, and lawyer, Marshal D. F. Abubakar met with on Monday are aware of the facts of the case.
Sowore stated that the youths did not protest inside the church, adding that Enenche attested to their orderly conduct during their two-hour-long meeting.
The activist said it was upon exiting the church auditorium that they started live-streaming on Facebook. He stressed that he was the one who shared the Livestream and added that “#BuhariMustGo hits Dunamis,” and not the activists.
He said it was the church security team that called the DSS and sent a white Hilux van accompanied by two power bikes to whisk them away.
“They were approached by the church security (team) and told to end the Livestream, they insisted it was their right and Emmanuel Larry told them he was a journo and maintained a respectful distance from the church security.
“They let them leave and the 10 activists got to the main road and five of the activists boarded a vehicle and left.
“While five others were waiting for a taxi, a new set of church security men wearing reflective jackets came and intercepted them and physically manhandled them and took them back into the church premises to their security post.
“They were forced to delete the two live videos. Church officials took some screenshots and even shared them with the media on Sunday (I believe they have the full videos retrieved from Emmanuel Larry’s phone).
“It was the church security team that called the DSS and they sent a white Hilux van accompanied by two power bikes to whisk them away. They’ve not been seen or heard from ever since,” Sowore added.
Saharareporters, New York