A well publicized church programme purposely organized by one of the old generation churches- the Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, in Epinmi in Akoko South East area of Ondo state to exorcise the devil and its cohorts said to be tormenting the people in the agrarian community was disrupted by masquerades as the organizers were ironically dealt with instead mid-way into the spiritual meeting.
The disruption of the church service came from an unusual quarter – Masquerades.
Vanguard learnt that four masquerades invaded the church and flogged all those present including two of their pastors.
The incident is talk of the town since it happened last week. While some described it as sacrilegious others claimed that there is more to it than meets the eyes.
The church members and others within the town who were invited to the service held during the week went back home with bruises all over their bodies.
Infact, reports had it that the pastors of the church reportedly received the beating of their lives and were hospitalized thereafter.
There was stampede in the church which has a capacity to accommodate 100 worshippers as the intruders went wild flogging both the old and the young inside the church.
Findings by Vanguard revealed that the masquerades, after their show across the town, were heading for their hideout to share their proceeds.
They reportedly decided to pass through a short cut in order to escape the surging crowd following them to partake in the sharing of the day’s takings.
Unknown to them, the route they took led to the church where the service was in progress.
Some of the leaders of the church who were ushering invitees into the church were shocked to see the four masquerades running towards the church.
Police source said that the ushers informed one of the pastors who together with others formed a wall to prevent the masquerades from moving near the church.
The leader of the masqueraders, one Tunde Arohunmolase, who is now in police custody reportedly challenged the pastor and his members for disallowing them to use the footpath beside their church as their gateway.
He was said to have quoted the Bible (Psalm 24:1) “ The earth is of the Lord and the fullness thereof” to the pastor.
Tunde was said to have insisted that no human being has the right to stop others from passing through any land since it belongs to the Lord
Vanguard gathered that the Pastor and those that formed the wall refused to budge.
Tunde was said to have signalled to his colleagues and they overran the human wall, headed straight to the church and flogged all those present during the service.
Some members who could not escape through the doors used the windows.
None of those that attended the service was spared from the beating by the masquerades.
Satisfied that they have dealt with the pastors and others, the masquerades reportedly left the church premises without taking anything from the church.
They later, after their ungodly act, passed through the footpath beside the church to their hideout where they later shared their takings.
But nemesis later caught up with them as detectives who traced them after some church members had lodged a complaint, rounded them up while they were sharing their booty.
Vanguard was informed that their leader was arrested while the two others escaped.
The suspect has reportedly given useful information while the fleeing masqueraders are being traced.
Police source said that the suspect confessed that they were pushed into masquerade business because they had nothing doing and do not want to be criminals.
According to the source, the suspect, during interrogation, said they went round the town and were able to make N3,000 which they shared equally.
Vanguard also learnt that they would have made more money if it was during a festival but because the exercise was not attached to any known festival in the town, many of those they asked for money ignored them.
Report said that the suspects confessed that they were lured into the exercise by one Kayode who told them that they stand to make quick money if they joined him in the exercise.
The suspect told police detectives that they had a successful outing until the unexpected happened in the church.
When contacted, the police image maker, Wole Ogodo, said that only one of the suspects is in police custody and that he has confessed to the offense.
Ogodo said that the other two are at large and would soon be apprehended.
He also confirmed that two of the pastors were wounded during the invasion of the church.
Ogodo said that the two pastors have been discharged from hospital after they were treated.
He gave the names of the pastors as Jacob Ogunmola and Kehinde Ilori.
The Police Spokesman added that the suspect – Tunde Arohunmolase, in police custody said that they decided to vent their anger on the pastors because they prevented them from passing through the footpath beside their church during church service.
Ogodo assured that the fleeing masqueraders would soon be arrested from their hideouts and be made to face the music.
One of the pastors that was attack, Jacob Ogunmola, declined comment on the incident.
But one of the leaders in the church who spoke in confidence said “ what happened resulted from breakdown in communication”.
According to him, the pastors were out to prevent the masquerades from distracting the church programme and did not ask them not to do their business.
He said that the church has put the ugly incident behind it and has moved on adding that Sunday service was held in the church with an impressive attendance by church members.
According to him the ugly incident “has not and will not affect the church attendance”.
Meanwhile, a new Police Commissioner, Mike Ogbodu, has resumed in the state as the 36th Commissioner of Police.