by Akan Ido
The Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) has responded to allegations of molestation and detention of two citizen journalists, Omoyele Sowore and Segun O’Law of the New York-based online news media, SaharaReporters.
The church explained that due to the security challenge presently being battled in the country, it is incumbent upon it to be mindful of suspicious movements in and around the church.
The church insisted that it maintains an open-door policy to journalists.
According to a statement signed by Oladele Bank-Olemoh, chair of MFM’s publicity committee, on behalf of the church: “In as much as we don’t want to join issues with the media organization, we hereby state our position as regards the issue for the benefit of the public.
“MFM has an open door policy as regards the media as many journalists were accredited to cover the Cross Over night.
The MFM statement reportedly said despite the fact that both citizen journalists lacked proper accreditation to cover the event, they were allowed into the church for the service, one of the largest church gatherings in Nigeria.
Another member of the church, Idowu Ajanaku explained that it is not clear exactly what triggered the church’s task force officers to swoop on the SaharaReporters’ publisher, Sowore, but he said that it could be because he moved closer to the podium from where the General Overseer was preaching.
“In view of the security challenges facing the nation and body of Christ in particular, MFM has the right to monitor the movement of people in and around our church premises,” he said.
The released statement continued saying, “The event was live on social media. Sahara crew never applied and was never accredited as one of the media organizations to cover the event,” said the statement.
“Nevertheless, they were allowed inside the prayer city to film the event, and the crew was only stopped when they went beyond the parameters allowed for media men.”
The statement was, however, quiet on the allegations that the two reporters were detained for several hours by a ‘mob’ who threatened to destroy their cameras.
“The mob later handed us over to the police and the SSS operatives attached to the church,” claimed Sowore, days after the incident.
The MFM statement went further to question the news organization if its reporters would dare to “barge into a Mosque to cover an event without permission?”
“Is Sahara which is based in the United States of America saying it does not know the normal procedure for covering an event?
“Can Sahara barge into an event in USA to cover without an accreditation?
“Therefore, we appeal to the media to respect the authority of the church just as our doors are open to media organizations in the discharge of duties,” it concluded.