Pandemonium broke out in Ogunrun-Ori, Ogun State a community along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, last Thursday when the pastor of a church in the area, Emmanuel Igwe, and his members allegedly attacked a man with a machete.
It was learnt that Igwe, the presiding pastor, Freedom Power Assembly, led members of the church to batter Waheed Kamorudeen whose residence shares the same fence with the church after he went there to complain about the intensity of the noise emanating from the church.
Eyewitnesses who spoke with our correspondent said Igwe and his church members bundled the man into a waiting vehicle and took him to a secluded place where they allegedly beat him up and inflicted machete injury on his head.
A resident who identified herself simply as Christiana said Kamorudeen, a 28-year-old carpenter, was attacked by the congregation.
Christiana said, “The noise pollution from the church has since been a lingering problem in the community. But Kamorudeen is the worst hit because his residence is the closest to the church.
“That day, he actually went to the church to complain about the noise while they were holding an evening service around 8:45 pm. When they didn’t lower the noise blaring out from the speaker, he angrily banged the church’s door.
“As a result of this, the church service was abruptly ended and Igwe together with his church members pounced on him and gave him the beating of his life. They subsequently tied his hands and legs and bundled him into Igwe’s car. They later drove down to Community Road, the next street from here.”
Christiana said when the landlords in the area learnt about the incident, they rushed to the scene but could neither find the victim nor his alleged attackers.
A wife of a landlord in the area, who identified herself as Ayo, said the pastor’s car was stained with blood when it was brought to the area on the next day.
“The noise of the church is a major headache for many of us in this community especially when they hold their praise and worship sessions during their vigils. We hardly have a wink of sleep,” she said.
It was learnt that Igwe and his church members took Kamorudeen to a police station after the incident on Thursday night but the policemen asked the pastor to get the victim treated first.
Kamorudeen’s mother, Anifat, who came down from Iwo in Osun State after she learnt of the incident said she met her son in a pitiable situation.
She said it was unjust for someone who claims to be a man of God to take laws into his hands and inflict machete wounds on a fellow citizen.
She said, “Apart from sustaining injuries on his head, arm and chest, he has started behaving abnormally. While we were returning home from the hospital, he didn’t even know the direction to his home.
“Besides, whenever we ask him questions, his answers are entirely different from what he is being asked. My son has no history of mental illness.”
When our correspondent sought to speak with Kamorudeen, his words were incoherent.
Sikiru Azeez, a resident of the area who was also Kamorudeen’s master during his apprenticeship, said the victim’s refusal to sell his land and building apartment to Igwe might have aggravated the way and manner they brutalised him.
He said, “He had told me that the pastor had asked him to sell his plot of land to him when he just procured it at the rate of N400,000.
“When he laid the foundation, he said the pastor approached him again to sell it at the rate of N600, 000 for the church expansion project, which he declined.
Azeez, who accused the police of treating the pastor with kid gloves, urged constituted authorities to ensure that justice was done.
Another resident, identified simply as Oyeniyi, said, “On Sunday morning some landlords and landladies including me went to the Baale of the community who asked us to initiate a peace meeting with the pastor.
“Unfortunately while waiting for his arrival at his church, he brought in a team of riot policemen. The policemen then accused us of plotting to disrupt public peace and we were detained at the police cell for over 11 hours before we were released.”
But Igwe, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Monday, accused Kamorudeen of invading their church with a machete and threatening to kill him and members of his church.
He said, “While a service was going on, he busted into the church while wielding a machete and disrupted the programme. He then demanded the sum of N50m or else he would kill me and my church members. In the process, he manhandled two pregnant women and pushed them to the floor.
“One had an instant miscarriage while the other one who sustained waist pains was operated upon on Saturday. There was an instant response from members and he got injured while we were trying to defend ourselves. When we overpowered him, we bundled him into the vehicle and took him to the police station.”
Igwe also denied seeking to buy the victim’s plot of land describing it as fabricated.
Congregation acted in self defence – Police
The Divisional Police Officer, Mowe Division,Owode Emordi, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Wednesday said, “Our preliminary investigation revealed that Kamorudeen attacked the pastor and his church members with a cutlass before he was overpowered and got injured on his head, arm and other places in the process.
“Investigation is still ongoing but he has been unable to give us a coherent explanation as regards the incident.
“As a result of this, we are taking him to a psychiatrist to get an expert opinion about his mental stability and afterwards act appropriately on the matter.”
Emordi added that the community members were apprehended because they wanted to unleash mayhem on the church premises during the Sunday worship service, adding that those arrested had been released on compassionate ground.