BY OLAYINKA LATONA & WILLIAM JIMOH
Lagos — NORMAL activities continued at the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministry headquarters, Sunday, despite its closure by the Lagos State Ministry of Environment for environmental offences.
Activities at the church’s headquarters betrayed no sign of the sealing by a government task force.
This came as the church’s founder, Pastor Lazarus Muoka said the closure was an advertisement for the church.
Several gates leading to the church’s main auditorium were opened and there was no sign of government’s seal to indicate a clampdown.
A few gates were shut, but without government’s official seal.
It would be recalled that the Lagos State Ministry of Environment announced that it had shut down the church’s headquarters last Tuesday over failure to comply with the state’s environmental laws.
A visit to the church, Sunday, revealed that members freely assembled at the premises as usual for worship and other activities while others busied themselves selling inspirational materials and other items.
However, it was noticed that the church has removed some structures on the drainage channel and cleared the canal, giving the area a new look.
Muoka also observed that the church had begun a process of erecting new toilet facilities.
Church founder, Pastor Muoka who was said to have just returned from a mission outside the country, told worshippers not be discouraged about the news of the church’s closure by government agents, saying it was another way of advertising the church.
Preaching on a topic entitled, ‘The Necessity of Faith in Challenging Cituation,’ Muoka urged members not to be deterred by the current challenges confronting the church as such situation was only testing their faith.
Continuing, he said: “The shutdown of the church can only advertise the church and multiply us more. They are all after our faith. Any member that loses his or her faith in a situation like this is gone.
“As members, do not allow adverse news about the church to affect your faith because every true child of God must pass through trials and persecution but blessed are those who keep their faith to the end.
“No matter what the church is going through we shall overcome, we are unmovable, and we will not look back. Despite all the noise they are making about Chosen, we do not look back, instead we keep moving forward.
“The more they speak about us, the more you should keep preaching righteousness, go out by faith. We are not moved, all the people causing these, will see you succeeding and they will be ashamed,” he stated.
The cleric after his sermon called on members who can build toilet facilities to join in the construction work.
The church’s Director of Public Relations/Press, Pastor Louis Chidi said the church had fully complied with the state government’s order with a reversion to its former status and was fully operational.
Some church members, who gathered in groups after the service, said the Lagos government took on the church simply because the founder was away on an assignment outside the country.
Another member countered that it was better that the structure on the drainage channel was removed including the evacuation of solid waste dumped inside the canal.
As at the time of this report, it was not clear if the state government had lifted the order shutting down the church following the church’s non-adherence to the state’s environmental laws.
Several phone calls made to the state Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello and his Information and Strategy counterpart, Mr. Aderemi Ibirogba, were unsuccessful at press time.
However, a senior official of the state Ministry of Environment, who preferred anonymity, affirmed to Vanguard that “the church is still under seal and there is no way the authorities could have broken the seal.”
He confirmed that the church authorities had written to the state government of their willingness to comply with the directive in full.