Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The last has not been heard of the demolition of shops by the Dunamis Church security. The shop owners are now demanding N5 million from the church for their demolished properties.
Some of the traders, who spoke to Daily Sun, said that the total cost of their property is over N5 million and the church should compensate them before they would vacate the place. Chinedu Opara claimed he was one of the 49 traders that lost properties in the demolition. While he lost over N150,000, other 48 traders lost more than that:
“It was last two weeks, Sunday, March 23, 2019, that one security man who works under Dunamis had some misunderstanding with one woman called Mama Emma. In that process he threw the woman’s wares away and the woman held him by the throat. When they were separated, he threatened that they were going to burn down all the shops in the area.
“The same Sunday evening, another of the security came to me and revealed to me that they were planning to burn down our shops. I thought it was a joke. On Monday morning we discovered that all our things had been burnt.
“Later, when the senior pastor saw some people crying he promised to settle us adding that he had set up an investigation panel to investigate the matter. One day we were sitting down here, some policemen came and said that we should come and make some statements. By then, they had handed those people (culprits) over to the police.
“When we went to the police station, among the whole people that were on duty that day, it was only one security man that they arrested. I made some statements and they said that we should come back and that the River Park DPO would like to see us.
“When we went there, I was detained. I was the victim. They said that they have been warning me to remove my container here and I refused. I was there till evening before I was released and warned to remove my container. One of the Hausa men doing ‘mai shai’ had been settled. Some women here are now stranded. I am just managing to come here.
“Four of my fridges and my goods were burnt. I lost over N150,000 But the total loss was almost N5 million and we were about 49 people that were affected.”
Reminded that the church supported some members to start businesses in the area, Opara said he did not benefit from any money and that no one that he knows in the area is a beneficiary of the fund:
“I have been here since three years even before Dunamis came here. I am not aware that they gave somebody money to set up business.Yes the chairman and some people here are members but they have not given anybody any money to start business here.”
Another victim, Mrs Faith Michael, said: “On Tuesday morning, one of the traders who arrived around 5am called me on phone and said all our goods had been burnt. Before then, there was one security man that told me that they would burn our shops and that everybody should move everything.
“Behold when we came here on Tuesday they had burnt everything, both my provision and my drink. I borrowed money to start afresh. I lost over N70,000.” About refund, which the church promised: “They have not refunded any money. They are not even saying anything. They said we should write our names. Since we wrote it, almost three weeks now we did not hear anything.”
The spokesman for the church, Pastor Victor Stephen reacted in a statement: “Our attention has been drawn to a video clip circulating the cyber space concerning traders’ property being burnt down by Dunamis Church at the new headquarters.
“We wish to state, though with dismay, that the Church, Dunamis, was not responsible for that kind of act and can never be. Dunamis is geared towards the restoration of human lives and destinies and can never be associated with such heinous acts to indigent persons.
“It is also worthy of note that some traders selling outside the church premises were empowered by the church as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to set up their own businesses. It would therefore be mischievous for anyone to assume that Dunamis would authorise such an act.
“Please disregard this malicious propaganda, Dunamis is not responsible. Thank you and God bless you.”