The police in Ghana have said they are investigating an alleged gathering by Nigerian pastor, Chris Oyakhilome’s Christ Embassy Church at Trade Fair Centre, Accra, last Friday, in flagrant disregard of COVID-19 protocols.”
Trending videos of the alleged gathering, dubbed “Pneumatic Night” show a non-mask-wearing mass crowd, screaming, chanting, and dancing to the “evangelism” of non-mask-wearing leaders.
The event has attracted wide condemnation from the general public with a call from a pressure group, Occupy Ghana, calling for a probe.
The police said the gathering puts the entire country at risk of spreading COVID-19, adding that they did not provide security for the said event.
They made the news public in a press statement on their official Twitter handle on Sunday.
The statement, signed by the police spokesperson, Sheilla Kessie Abayie-Buckman, a superintendent of police, read, “The police are investigating an alleged gathering by youths of the Christ Embassy Church at the Fantasy Dome, Trade Fair Center, Accra on Friday in flagrant disregard of COVID-19 protocols.
“Trending videos of the alleged gathering dubbed ‘Pneumatic Night’ show a non-mask-wearing crowd, screaming, chanting, and dancing to the ‘evangelism’ of non-mask-wearing leaders; putting the entire country at risk of spreading COVID-19.
“The police did not provide security for the said event. The organisers did not give notice of the event to any police officer or station. The event, advertised as a church service which ordinarily did not require notice under the Public Order Act, was organised at the blind side of the police.
“Police have since Sunday morning locked up the Fantasy Dome and have started questioning leaders of the church and management of the Fantasy Dome about the event. Any person found culpable will be arrested and duly prosecuted.”
They also added that police officers laid surveillance at the Christ Embassy Service Center at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) where a similar programme had been advertised to hold.
The programme, they say, was ,however, held with all COVID-19 protocols being observed.
It also warned that persons found culpable in the investigation would be prosecuted accordingly.
This is the third time in 2021 that Mr Oyakhilome ’s church will be found guilty of breaching tCOVID-19 safety protocols outside the shores of Nigeria.
A month ago, Mr Oyakhilome’s religious TV channel, Loveworld, was sanctioned by The Office of Communications in the United Kingdom (Ofcom) for spreading misinformation about the COVID-19.
Ofcom, in a statement on its official Twitter page, said the station was fined £125,000 (N65.6m) for breaching the country’s broadcasting code by disseminating misinformation on COVID-19.
On December 1, 2020, Loveworld aired a 29-hour programme called the Global Day of Prayer, during which claims were made about the COVID-19, which has so far killed thousands across the globe.
According to the agency, “these claims included the notion that the outbreak was ‘planned’, that the ‘sinister’ vaccine can be used to implant ‘nanochips’ that can control and cause harm to members of the public and the debunked theory that the virus was somehow caused by 5G.”
The agency said it was unfortunate that the station could continue to spread such information despite previous warnings.
Mr Oyakhilome, who heads Christ Embassy church headquartered in Lagos, has in the last year encouraged his members to ignore COVID-19 protocols.