An Ado-Ekiti Magistrates’ Court yesterday convicted two pastors for opening their churches and conducting services last Sunday in violation of the state’s COVID-19 lockdown order.
The two convicts, Abiodun Daramola and Sunday Akinwande, were found guilty of conducting a religious gathering of more than 30 persons contrary to the stay-at-home order by the state government.
State prosecutor, Mr Femi Onipede, told the court that the two pastors committed the offence on April 19, about 10am at Source of Salvation Ministries, Omisanjana in Ado Ekiti in Ado Ekiti Magisterial District without lawful excuse.
He said that the pastors were arraigned on a two-count charge of conducting a religious gathering of more than 30 persons and violating a lawful order contrary to and punishable under Section 203 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap C16, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.
Onipede told the court that the clerics were arrested during the monitoring by the security operatives to ensure that churches did not conduct service as directed by the state government to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The prosecutor said they violated the provisions of Regulation 2(1) (b) punishable under Regulation 12 of the Ekiti State Coronavirus (Prevention of Infection) Regulation, 2020, made pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Cap Q2, LFN, 2004.
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The pastors pleaded guilty to the charges, thereby not wasting the time of the court.
Consequently, the magistrate, Mr Lanre Owoleso, convicted the two pastors and ordered them to pay the fine of N50,000 each and be engaged in one-hour community service on the two-count charges.
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