... Temporary place of worship provided at Festival Hall, Government House
Our attention has been brought to a baseless and unsubstantiated video and an accompanying report making the rounds on social media to the effect that His Excellency, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has purportedly shut down the Edo State Government House Chapel located within the precinct of the Government House.
It is quite unfortunate that the architects of the fake narrative intend to embarrass the Edo State Government and cause religious discord among peace-loving Edo people with the manner they have tried to twist the narrative.
It is therefore necessary to state unequivocally that the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, regards persons of all religions, faiths and spiritual persuasions with utmost respect.
The Governor has over the years maintained a healthy relationship with the religious leaders in the State, engaging constructively with them to ensure peace and harmonious living among the people.
It is therefore a grave mischief for anyone or a group of people to fabricate rumours that the Governor has shut down the Chapel in the Government House and evicted a priest from the Chapel, in an attempt to curry political sympathy.
It is also instructive to note that the Chapel is a facility for interdenominational worship, providing a space for members of different religious persuasions to congregate and attend to their spiritual needs. The Catholics conduct a weekly Mass every Tuesday at the Chapel; the Anglican Communion use the Chapel every Thursday while Pentecostals congregate every Wednesday. The Government House Intercessors use the chapel regularly while the Government House Praise Team uses the venue for a monthly Holy Ghost praise programme. Hence, the Chapel is not the preserve of just one Christian creed.
In view of the plethora of activities that the facility was being used for, wear and tear is sure to set in thereby necessitating renovations to give the Chapel a facelift befitting its status as a Government House Chapel. The request for renovation was made and the Governor graciously approved this.
While the renovation work was about to begin, an unauthorized personnel proceeded to move some of the equipment and materials in the Chapel to an undisclosed location without authorization. Obviously acting with a premeditated motive, he recorded himself in the act and shared it on social media with a misleading narrative. Relevant security operatives have since been briefed on the matter and an investigation has begun to address the issue and ensure those found culpable are duly sanctioned.
The Government House Festival Hall has since been provided as the temporary accommodation for the chapel and its activities, while the renovation works last.
Therefore, our respected religious leaders, the Christian community and indeed members of the public are implored to disregard the video in circulation and its content. It is the handiwork of mischief makers who are bent on scoring cheap political points by instigating one religion against another.
The Edo State Government under the sterling leadership of Governor Godwin Obaseki will never engage in actions that will undermine religious harmony in the State.
Rev’d Osagie Ehrunmwunse
SSA, Religious Matters and Pastor-in-Charge, Edo State Government House Chapel
January 23, 2024