An unnamed Nigerian pastor has been killed and seven of his church members abducted during an all-night service.
Reports say the incident occurred at the parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Abule-Ori, Obafemi Owode local council of Ogun State at about 12 midnight on July 1.
RCCG is one of the largest Pentecostal churches in Nigeria.
Soji Ganzallo, the commander of Ogun State So-Safe Corps, said the corps has however rescued the abducted worshippers while one of the abductors was killed.
Ganzallo said there was exchange of fire during the rescue operation and that some of the kidnappers sustained serious injuries. He said the corps would go after the kidnappers and capture them alive.
He said the body of the dead kidnapper had been deposited in a morgue.
Also a statement by the spokesperson of the corps, Moruf Yusuf, said “The Owode-Egba Zonal Command of the corps, under Jimoh Omoniyi, received a distress call that some members of the RCCG, Desires of Nations Parish, under Ogun Province 22, Abule-Ori in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area were attacked during a vigil.
“That seven members of the church were kidnapped and the pastor killed.
“Officers of the Corps were charged to go after the suspects to rescue the victims unhurt and the officers swung into action immediately,” he said.
12 pastors die in accident
Meanwhile, 12 pastors of the Salvation Army Nigeria Territory, have died in an accident.
A statement by the spokesperson of the organisation, Major Daniel Ekong, said the pastors (officers) died on their way from the Officers’ Council Conference in Lagos.
“The Salvation Army has lost twelve of its officers (pastors), a baby and a driver in a fatal accident that occurred at the Ovia River close to Benin City, the Edo State capital on Thursday June 29, 2023.
“At the time of this statement, it has been reported that approximately 12 Officers, one comrade who drove the vehicle, and a baby tragically lost their lives, while others sustained varying degrees of injuries and were rushed to the hospital.
“The accident was said to have been caused by a speeding Dangote truck which allegedly rammed into the 18-seater bus carrying the cleric from behind.
“The clerics of the largest denomination known internationally for its humanitarian services were returning to the south-south part of the country from a five-day Officers Council (national conference) held in Lagos,” the statement.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the body of all Christians in Nigeria, has spoken on the two incidents.
A statement by the CAN President, Daniel Okoh, said its leadership received the news of the tragic incidents with great shock.
“We urge the various security agencies to increase vigilance on places of worship, during religious gatherings and provide adequate security measures for worshippers.
“CAN urge citizens not to be discouraged by the recent losses but to continue to look up to God for help. Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected families and churches.”
“The attack on worshippers at the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Ogun, is an assault on religious freedom in Nigeria.
“We mourn the loss of the Pastor and condemn the kidnapping of worshippers who were simply exercising their religious freedom to worship.
“We commend the security agencies for their swift response to the incident and call for intensified efforts to apprehend all the perpetrators,” he said.
He asked the government to thoroughly investigate the accident to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Okoh said the association stands with the Salvation Army during this difficult time in prayer, adding that God will comfort them and ease their pain.