It is certainly not the best of times for an evangelist with a fast growing Pentecostal church in Agbor, as his explanation for his alleged presence in a community?s cemetery is not accepted by the community involved.
Evang. Ewere Akpan who is in the eye of the storm was reportedly caught with another brother named Festus Omodia recently at Alibido?s Cemetry in Oza-Nogogo in Ika South Local Government Area by a group of women who were returning from a funeral by 4pm.
Ika Weekly learnt that the women on approaching the cemetery said they caught sight of a motorcycle parked by the side of the narrow road and a man was lying down on the graveyard with another fellow standing beside him. The women said they were gripped with fear on seeing the men and therefore raised an alarm that attracted the villagers to rescue them from the hands of their supposed enemies. Although before the villagers were said to respond to their shout, the young men were alleged to have rushed out of the cemetery and disclosed their identities.
Meanwhile, elders of the community not satisfied with the explanation given by the evangelist who said he is a native of Alisor and his counterpart who hails from Alihami, decided to invite them to the community elders? meeting where further explanations could be made on their mission in the cemetery. But unfortunately, the duo ignored the call as they failed to show up during the elders gathering.
Therefore, to further press their case, Alibido elders reported the matter to Dein?s Palace where it was said that Evang. Ewere Akpan and Brother Festus Omodia admitted being in the cemetery but were not lying down as professed by the women. Moreso, they told the astonished palace chiefs that it is unknown to them that the place where they claimed to have been taking some rest is the community?s cemetery.
However, to justify their claims, the duo were asked in the palace to swear if their intention of visiting Alibido?s cemetery was genuine; but Evang. Ewere and his Christian brother were said to have declined taking the oath. They were therefore asked to pay some fine for their refusal and present 14 items that will be used to appease Alibido?s Community land as was demanded by the Alibido elders.
Meanwhile, when Evangelist Ewere Akpan and Mr. Festus Omodia visited Ika Weekly Office to state their side of the story, the Evangelist who said that he is from Alisor disclosed that apart from being an evangelist, he is also an estate agent working with Festus Omodia who hails from Alihami.
The Evangelist stated that in order to sell off a property along Benin Asaba Expressway, Agbor Opposite Eye Clinic, they had to get in touch with prospective buyers which include one Mr. Okwuada and another man Mr. Agbokigbor at Alibido among others. He also said that when they got to Alibido, their client was said to be sleeping and should be given one hour. That was about 3.00pm, they said.
"It was at this point that we decided to get back to Agbor. On our way back we discovered it was already 3.25pm and therefore opted to wait there until 4pm. At about 4pm some women met us and were frightened, asking us what we were doing at the cemetery. That was when we reacted swiftly, declaring that we never knew the place to be a cemetery, as we explained our mission to them," Evangelist Akpan narrated.
The Evangelist also said that two days later they were summoned by the elders of Alisor, which "we honoured and also explained our position." The elder of Alisor was said to have sought audience with the people of Alibido, but failed.
"It was some days later that we were summoned to the Dein?s Palace, where we also repeated the same story. However, I was fined N5, 000, while my colleague Festus Omodia was fined N7, 000, and we were asked to come back on 10th September, 2009. The important issue here is that none of us was lying down, although I was sitting by the side of the road," the evangelist asserted.
Recalling that the two communities, Alisor and Alibido had a communal misunderstanding, he prayed that he is not being used as a scapegoat. He, however, said he has told the Alibido people to invoke the spirit of their gods if they had any negative intention for being at, what appears, the wrong place at the wrong time.
Evangelist Akpan also disclosed that the General Overseer of his church has told him to stop coming to church as a fall out of the unfortunate incident.
Ika Weekly will bring our valued readers further developments on this matter in our next issue as we will be at Deins palace comes 10th of September.