Officials of Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority on Thursday demolished the regional headquarters of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries in Enugu State.
And this they say they did in order to pave way for early completion of a major road.
Despite prayers from worshippers, who gathered at the church premises in the Enugu metropolis, the ECTDA officials went on to pull down the church building.
Punch reports that the worshippers had initially refused to leave the church hall and preferred that they be buried with the collapsing walls. But when the bulldozer made the first touch, members of the church, who were already praying, took cover.
Three bulldozers pulled down the structures close to the waterway amidst tight security, with officers and men of the police force and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps on hand at the site.
Regional Pastor of the church, Ude Ogaranya, described the exercise as an abomination and a rape on justice.
But while trying to defend their act, the State government said they gave the leadership of the church more than one year to relocate the church from the waterway where it was built. That they even allocated some hectares of land to the church elsewhere not minding that it flouted its order not to build on the waterway.
But Pastor Kennedy Udeogaranya insists that the government should have extended the deadline for the demolition to enable the leadership of the church to settle in the new location. He said:
“This is the headquarters of the church in Enugu and we thought that the government should have allowed us some time to move to the new site.
Some of our property are still inside the church and we did not have the opportunity to remove them before the demolition."
Udeogaranya confirmed that the government gave the church a new site to build another church but solicited for compensation to enable it to put up new structures.
“We spent a lot of money building the church and offices in the premises. We are appealing to the government to compensate us,’’ he said.