A band of thugs on Sunday, October 30, swooped and demolished a 1000-capacity auditorium belonging to the Higherlife Generation Church, located at 8 Bishop Court, Owerri, Imo State.
The thugs led by one Henry said to be a police officer destroyed the property of the church estimated to cost more than N40million.
The property destroyed included chairs, pulpits, tables and musical equipment.
The thugs equally molested the Resident Pastor, Emmanuel Samuel and his wife, who were roughhanded and dragged out of the church and pinned to the ground to pave way for unimpeded demolition of the structure.
Speaking in an interview shortly after, Pastor Samuel bemoaned the humiliation and losses which he and his wife as well as their flock suffered at the hands of Henry and his thugs.
He disclosed that he was alerted on telephone on Sunday morning about the presence of some people who came to the church with a bulldozer.
According to him, he initially felt it was a case of mistaken identity which made him to go straight to the sanctuary of the church on arrival to pray only to be beaten mercilessly by Henry and his cohorts who also violently bundled him out of the auditorium.
A viral video also showed Pastor Samuel’s wife equally being thrown out of the church building as a bulldozer smashed through and reduced to rubble chairs, musical instruments and walls of the church.
Pastor Samuel narrated that one Nchekube Pedro Emesowum has been claiming ownership of the land where the church was located.
According to him, Emesowum instead of slugging it out with the owner of the land, chose to fight the church.
He revealed that Emesowum first dragged the church to the state police command headquarters and later to Orji Police Station, where he made statements and bailed himself as well as to the traditional ruler of the Orji Community.
In-between reporting to the police to clear himself of any direct involvement in the matter, Pastor Samuel said the owner of the land, Patrick Azuoma dragged Emesowum to court.
The pastor further disclosed that the matter was yet to be determined before Emesowum deployed his police friend to forcefully eject the church from the land and demolish its structure.
He said; “I have never seen anything of this nature. Instead of slugging it out with the landlord, it is our church they chose to demolish.
“We are not in the place illegally. We don’t have any quarrels with the owner of the land.
“We started service there on December 31, 2021 and we have met our obligation to the landlord but this Nchekube Pedro Emesowum has been troubling us
“He reported me first to the State Police Command headquarters and later to Orji Police station where I made statements and bailed myself.
“But I am not the person directly involved in this matter. I have a landlord. We are a church. And some people have the effrontery to demolish and destroy the property of the church of God.
“Come to think of it, Patrick Azuoma is the one in possession of the valid documents (title) to the land. There was a time talks about the sale of the land cropped up. It was Azuoma who produced the documents to the land”.