CAN Vice Chair Rev. Okon runs away from Cross River community after attack by traditionalists


One of the churches attacked by traditionalists, according to Rev. Victor Okon, Vice Chair, CAN in Biase LG of Cross River State

Ehigimetor Igbaugba

Rev. Victor Okon, the Vice chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State has gone into hiding after he wqs allegedly harassed and intimidated by some traditionalists.

Okon, who is the senior pastor of Christ Divine Liberation International revealed this while lamenting harrassment and intimidation of the Christians in Adim Community of the local government where he has his church.

Okon who is also the Coordinator of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in the area alleged that harassment and intimidation of Christians had now been extended to destruction of Church property.

The cleric, while addressing newsmen in Calabar on Tuesday noted that the persecution of Christians in the area had become an annual ritual for the past four years.

Okon said that crux of the matter revolved around the annual new year festival usually celebrated in the locality.

He said that the traditionalists had not hidden their desire to ensure that Churches in the area were shut for two days that the festival is celebrated in the area.

“Their claim is that we (Church) desecrate their holy days as we have no right to worship during the new yam festival,” he stated.

On the recent event, Okon alleged that their members were attacked while sharing flyers for an upcoming Church programme in the area.

According to him, “we were not only attacked, they went as far as destroying the sound system and vehicle used for evangelism.

“This issue started in 2019 when they started confiscating megaphones, Bibles, torches of Christians who go out for morning prayers.

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“This usually occurs between July and August. They come out with the proviso that the two months shouldn’t be used to preach anything Christ anywhere near the community.

“To resolve this issue amicably, I have met with the clan head of the community to ensure peace reigns.

Okom, however, said that the issue took a different dimension in this year’s new yam festival when his Church and others were destroyed.

“We don’t interfere with their procedures, processions and any activities before, during or after their festival, but they kept attacking us.

“We have reported this matter to the police but at the moment we are not satisfied with their handling of the matter.

“That is why we are calling on Gov. Bassey Otu, the Inspector General of Police to come to our aid, we can no longer bear this kind of threat.

“As I speak, am in hiding, I can’t enter my community freely, even where I went for safety they have also traced me there to harm me.

However, the Clan of Adim, Onun Etim Ofem Owai, declined comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Police have said that they were aware of the matter and that necessary attention was being accorded the situation.

The spokesman of the Zone 6 Police Command in Calabar, SP Nelson Okpebi, said that the matter was under investigation as it had been assigned to a unit known as the X Squad.

“The matter is before us. A pastor wrote a petition to the command from Adim; we are investigating the matter; X squad is the unit handling it, that is all I can tell you for now,” he stated. (NAN)

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