Fred Itua, Abuja, Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
A Mobile court sitting at the Eagle Square in Abuja, has convicted eight clerics for violating the presidential order shutting down the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The conviction was handed down by Magistrate, Idayat Akonni, who sentenced them to one month imprisonment. Akonni, however, gave them an option of a fine of N5, 000 in addition to a supervised community service for one day.
Those convicted are: Muslim clerics; Imam Abdullahi Mohammed of Gwarinpa Estate; Imam Suleiman Idris of Mobi close, Area 11 Garki; deputy Imam Useni Umar of the same address; Pastor Phillips Olumbori of Celestial Church of Christ, Lugbe and Rev. Moses Chinedu of Mercy City Gospel Centre, Aco Estate, Lugbe.
Chairman, FCT Ministerial Enforcement Task team on COVID-19 operations, Attah Ikharo, said the various mobile courts which sat at different locations within the territory, convicted over 73 violators on Sunday.
Speaking on the judgment, he said: “The verdict, though mild, is a welcome development. Those sentenced should be worried because they are now ex-convicts having been found guilty and sentenced by a competent court of law.
“ I wonder why it has become very difficult for custodians and enforcers of divine laws to obey national laws that do not prohibit or infringe on their freedom of religion.”
Also, in Ebonyi State, the COVID-19 Task force yesterday arrested five pastors in Afikpo North and Ohaukwu Local government areas of the State.
The pastors were arrested for allegedly violating the lockdown order by holding Sunday Services.
In Afikpo North, the Task force led by the Technical Assistant to the State Governor, Otu Unyanma ,confirmed the arrest of the pastor of Dynamic Faith Church. Other pastors arrested at Ohaukwu LGA included Officiating ministers of Church of Christ, Agbaba, Ascension Church, Agbaba, Methodist Church, Otuokpeye.