Vanguard (Lagos)

23 January 2013

Nigeria: Pastor Charged With Arson in Police Barracks

THE founder and general overseer of Truth Ground Prophetic Ministry International Inc., Ogbe Layout, Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, Delta State, Pastor Thomas Emmanuel Joshua, has been arraigned in court for allegedly setting ablaze a store in the Ebrumede Police Barracks, Effurun.

He was charged to court, Monday, with a carpenter and others working on the new church building, near the police station.

The embattled pastor, however, told reporters that the police at Ebrumede set him up and called on the Inspector General of Police, human rights organizations and the Delta state government to come to his assistance.

He alleged the police that actually invaded and burnt down his church's building because they were disputing his possession of the land, only to turn around and accuse him of leading some youths to burn a store in the police barracks.

His words, "I went to the site where I am building my permanent site at Ogbe layout Effurun. I bought the said parcel of land from Ogbe family. Immediately we arrived at site, my carpenter climbed to start roofing. I was still in the car when police from Ebrumede Police Station came and said the land belong to them and accused us of trespassing."

"They said they were taking us to the station. I drove my car to the station and from there, they carried us to Area Commander's Office in Warri where we gave our statement. I was arrested on Saturday, 19th January 2013 with the carpenter and another worker."

"On Sunday, that was the next day, the DPO, Ebrumede Police Station came to A-Division Warri where we were kept and asked us to write another statement, that we were part of the people that burnt down a store in their barracks. I said no that I do not know what they were talking.

"I repeated the statement I wrote on Saturday. It was after that encounter that I learnt from my church members that police burnt down my church after we were arrested," Pastor Joshua stated.

According to him, "I want to say that the police from Ebrumede Police Station burnt down my church. If there is any problem between them and those that sold the land to us, they suppose to iron it out with them; the people are alive to speak for themselves. I want the IGP, human right organizations and Delta State government to come to my aid. I didn't burn down any police station."

The Area Commander, Warri, ACP Hussaini Rabiu, confirmed the incident, but said he was not aware of the burning of a church.

He said those arrested were those that attacked the police barracks in the area and the police had taken them to court.

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