The crisis in the Assemblies of God Church took a dangerous dimension on Sunday morning as troops took over an Effurun, Delta State branch of the church forcing members to run for safety.
It was gathered that the soldiers stormed the Glory House Parish of the church on Oti Street, off Aka Avenue, Effurun, and ordered worshippers to close. The soldiers who came with Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) prevented the service that was going on the continue.
“We were preparing for service when they (soldiers) came. They were menacing and prevented us from continuing the service. We had no option but to close,” a source said to The Nation.
A senior pastor of the church, Rev Fred Iyorhiobhe, confirmed the report. He blamed the act on the feud in the church and accused the factional leader of using the military to terrorise members of the church.
He said: “Last week, some youths came with two pastors to attack the church. They destroyed the signboard.
“We went to A Division Police Station to get protection. Today, we called the commander, who told us that he was not aware and did not give any such order.”
It was gathered that blood would have flown freely if not for the intervention of some wise policemen who calmed the members and the aggressive soldiers down.
Rev Iyorhiobhe, who is backing the Bishop Emeka faction, appealed to security operatives to protect law-abiding worshippers and to avoid taking sides in the conflict as they have done in this case.
He lamented the action of the opposing pastors, stressing: “I wonder why they are doing this when the matter is in court.”
Commanding Officer, 13 Battalion Lt Colonel Patrick Igwe denied knowledge of the incident.