A Celestial Church located in Badore, Ajah area of Lagos State is set on fire by angry mob following reports of a dead body found on the premises.
According to narration from eyewitnesses who shared a video of the development, the Celestial Church is said to be known for frequent festivities.
Twitter user @Anietie41dude took to the platform to share the video with the caption, “Pastor of Cele church at Ajah, precisely at Alasia kills an Aboki by the name Dogo for rituals. His corpse was discovered this morning inside the church when to look for him.
When they discovered his corpse this morning, his eyes and tongue were already removed. According to his people, they said the Pastor approached him last night to help them dig a soak away in the church. Unknown to Dogo(name of deceased) they wanted to use him for rituals.
This morning his People went to look for him at the church. The Pastor told them he had fallen into the soakaway and had been rushed to the hospital, but his people did not believe the Pastor.”
Another witness on the scene could be heard saying, “Look at the entire place. they killed my friend, somebody I know. They removed his manhood, eyes, and tongue. Wickedness; God will judge all of you.”
The Senior Shepherd’s wife, Mrs Aso James, who was said to have escaped the attack by a whisker, however stated that Dogo’s death resulted from a pure accident and had nothing to do with ritual killing.
She said the deceased Dogo was a well-known face in the church and until his death was always coming to perform one task or the other.
The incident, which occurred on Friday night, followed the death of the Hausa labourer identified simply as Dogo, who was said to have fallen into a soakaway pit he was employed by the church to evacuate at its Overcomers Parish, Oke Ira Nla, Ajah, Lagos.
Dogo’s death was said to have drawn the ire of his Hausa kinsmen in the area, who accused the church of ritual killing and promptly mobilised others to attack the Senior Shepherd of the church, VSE Aso James, and other church members they could lay their hands on. A video that went viral yesterday showed the naked and battered body of the Senior Shepherd. Both James and the church’s Assistant Shepherd, Senior Evangelist Ayotunde Oladipupo, were said to be in critical conditions in a Lagos hospital at press time yesterday.
She said: “Dogo was contracted for the job ahead of the church Juvenile Harvest on 4th June.
“In preparation for the Juvenile Harvest Thanksgiving, the Parish contracted him to clear the church’s soakaway during the week and not on New Moon service day (Thursday) as was reported by some online media.
Dogo, who came in on Thursday night, came with chemicals which he poured into the soakaway before clearing the dirt.
“The man came at midnight on Thursday without prior notice or permission from the church authorities.
“Those who saw him come in did not stop him because he was a familiar face. Besides, service was ongoing.”
As at the time Dogo came into the church, the shepherd was on the altar ministering.”
Mrs James said the Senior Shepherd and Dogo bonded very well because the former speaks Hausa very well. She added that if the shepherd of the church had been notified that Dogo would do the work at night, he would not have allowed that.
She said: “Thursday midnight is Celestial New Moon Service all over the world, and it was being conducted by the parish shepherds.
“We were already in New Moon service when people saw Dogo carrying a ladder around 2 am because Dogo saw the church gate open during the service.
“But because the church members knew that he was the one normally contracted to clear soak away, he was allowed to do whatever he wanted to do.”
Dogo was said to have placed the ladder inside the soakaway pit in order to evacuate the dirt, but after a short while, they noticed that he was sinking and shouting.
She said the assistant shepherd of the church, who was with Dogo, tried to help him out but his efforts were fruitless as he too fell into the pit.
At that point, the Senior Shepherd was alerted and he also joined in the rescue mission and Dogo, as well as the Assistant Shepherd, were eventually rescued from the pit.
Mrs James said: “It was not only Dogo that fell into the soak away pit; the Assistant Shepherd, who was curious about Dogo’s decision to clear the soakaway at midnight, stayed to supervise him.
“The moment he noticed that Dogo had sunk, he entered the soak away too to rescue Dogo. Unfortunately for him, he also fell into the soakaway.
“Immediately the shepherd was alerted, he stopped the service and came to the scene of the accident.
“Unfortunately, it was difficult to move the injured to the hospital as the road to the church was inaccessible to vehicles because of the rain that damaged the road.
“They had to carry all of them on the back to the main road.
“The church boys physically carried Dogo and the Assistant Shepherd to the hospital. people on duty confirmed Dogo dead while the assistant shepherd was attended to.”
Mrs James said at the hospital, the Senior Shepherd was advised to immediately report the incident at the nearest police station while the body of the deceased was taken to the mortuary. The Senior Shepherd reported the matter at Langbasa Police Station and the police advised him to remain at the station till daybreak.
“But while we were at the police station making a report, the police advised us to call the family members of the deceased.
“We did, but the person who responded told us to evacuate Dogo’s body from the mortuary and return him to the church premises. All this happened at midnight,” a member of the church told reporters.
The church member said in the morning, the police accompanied members of the church to the church premises where Dogo was laid.
“Suddenly, a group of people came to the church and saw the cow we had bought for our Juvenile Harvest for Sunday, and the crowd started shouting ritual! Ritual!
“A few minutes later, we saw a crowd with the representative of Dogo surrounding the church premises.
“All these happened in the presence of the police, but the crowd was too much for the police to control.
“Some of the church members jumped the fence into the bush while the shepherd told us to run for our lives and allow him to meet the crowd.
“The Shepherd, who speaks Hausa very well, felt he could explain what happened to the irate crowd and douse the tension, but he was wrong.
“The mob charged and attacked him.
“The police tried to calm them but it seemed the irate crowd had made up their minds to go violent. There and then, they started vandalising the church property, setting some parts of the church ablaze and battering the Senior Shepherd and the church secretary.”
Mrs James, who spoke amid tears, explained that the mob invaded the church secretary’s house and lynched the shepherd and secretary, leaving them critically injured.
She said: “This is a pathetic situation, there was nothing like ritual killing. Some people are just being mischievous because we are a white garment church, because we are a Celestial Church.
“Dogo was a known person, and my husband treated him like a brother because he stayed in Benue, so he understands Hausa.
“The harvest cow they saw alive was what prompted them to start shouting ritual. Dogo’s parts were fully intact. Nothing was removed from his body.
“The police witnessed that and the body was there for people to see.
“Dogo didn’t die inside the soak away. He fell inside along with another church executive and both of them were rescued alive before he died on the way to the hospital.”
However, the police confirmed that the body found was not missing its parts while confirming that the labourer by the name of Dogo fell into a soakaway and was dead before reaching the hospital.
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Pastor of Cele church at Ajah, precisely at Alasia kills an Aboki by the name Dogo for rituals. His corpse was discovered this morning inside the church when to look for him.
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