Church threatens to sue newspaper over ‘defamatory’ publication

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The Fire House Church International Worship Centre, has threatened legal action against the Nation Newspaper over a report it published about an alleged ‘miracle scam’.

The report published on January 28 was titled: “Drama As Man Dies In Coffin After Abuja Pastor Allegedly Paid N500,000 for Miracle Scam.’’

The publication had alleged that a trader who was paid N500,000 to pose as a dead man in a coffin to be brought back by an Abuja-based pastor, died before the ‘miracle’ could be performed.

The man was reported by the newspaper to have passed on in the coffin before the General Overseer of the Church, located in Nyanya, Abuja, Bishop Emmanuel Esezobor could perform the alleged fake miracle.

However, Bishop Esezobor told newsmen in Abuja that the Church regarded the publication as defamatory and was going to sue the paper for damages.

He said that the report which earlier surfaced in 2016 was ignored by the church until recently when it was carried by the national newspaper and started trending.

He said that the report has caused he and his family members shame as well as caused him church members, adding that many people were beginning to lose faith in him.

He argued that there was no basis for the report to have been carried by the newspaper adding that it was totally false and that the identity of the said dead man could not be verified.

He further quoted the report as saying that the wife of the diseased got the police involved, the “fake pastor’’ was arrested, but got himself released through his influential friends; and was now back to performing strange miracles.

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Esezobor said that the publication did not only link the alleged incident to his Church, but went further to mention his name as the alleged pastor, without verifying the report.

He said the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), which had access to the said report in 2016, came to the Church to verify and got the true position, while the police also investigated it.

He stressed that there was no evidence to such claims: no picture of the casket or deceased trader, nor even his name.

“The trader should also have a market union and fellow traders. From 2016 up till now there was no eye witness.

“But, just on Jan. 28, the Nation Newspaper suddenly surfaced with the story and published the exact 2016 story on their online medium and which started trending.

“Then the Church decided not to be quiet because it is defamation of character and feedimg wrong information to the public.

“The Church and its legal department has taken it up to tell the Nation Newspaper that the story is false.

“If I was arrested as alleged, to which police station or which Investigation Police officer (IPO), is handling the case?

“I cannot travel, I cannot do anything because people are looking at me as someone who killed somebody, my family has lived with the pain, I have lost Church members. People no longer have faith in me,” he said.

He said that he had called on the general public or anyone who has information about the alleged fake miracle to come up with facts and no one had come up since 2016.

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