Akpan Etukudoh Asare
Police authorities in Rivers State have taken over a bethel (worship place) of Brotherhood of the Cross and Star in Ogbonabali in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
The Area Police Commander, Mr. Emmanuel Ewa whose jurisdiction covers Ogbonabali area in Port Harcourt, had ordered the sealing up of the place when a group of thugs and suspected dissidents were said to have commandeered the place and blocked the official priest sent from the international headquarters of the fold to man it.
This action of the suspected dissidents was reportedly met with resistance from large number of youths from other worship centres of the fold in Port Harcourt who were reported to have invaded the Ogbonabali bethel, occupied it and attempted to enforce the directive the headquarters in Calabar, Cross River State.
Reacting, a certain Mr. Peter Brown Effiong who spoke to reporters, claimed to be a long time worshipper at the Ogbonabali bethel.
Effiong said he and his friends cannot accept any directives from Calabar where the headquarters of BCS situates except from Uyo in Akwa Ibom State where he said their own church headquarters operates.
“We do not recognise any other headquarters. And so, we cannot heed any directives from anywhere else”, Effiong said.
In order to avert further public disobedience or violence, the police boss said that they had to intervene by sending away everybody from the premises of the place and locked it up.
“We will however open up the place when we have sorted out all issues including legal and directive from the leader and founder of the organisation”, he assured.
A lawyer, Justice Ahiakwo Osai who handles legal matters for the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star worldwide, explained that, a band of worshippers who were alleged to have entrenched selfish interests at the worship centre drove away the official priest sent from the international headquarters of the spiritual organization in Calabar, saying they did not have need for a new one and questioned the authority of the founder and leader of the movement.
“They do not have any locus standi to reject an official priest sent by the sole leader and founder of the church as it were. All legal documents at my disposal confirm that power and authority are vested on His Holiness Olumba Olumba Obu to administer the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star wherever its branches situate.
“That the police have stepped in is still lawful. The founder has the final decision. The police will conclude their findings, and the founder and spiritual leader of the fold will also give his final words. There is no cause for alarm”, Justice Osai told journalists.