Many if not all churches, mosques and other worship centers in Monrovia have been ordered closed by clergies even long before the Minister of Health declared a national health emergency on Sunday morning,, further ordering religious establishments closed for the next 21 days as part of strategy to defeat the Coronavirus.
State security, especially the Police, have vowed to ensure the enforcement of the regulations that have to a good extent altered normal social activities and interactions given the war against a pandemic.
But on Sunday morning, a video footage surfaced on social media in which the controversial Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, who pastors the Chapel of Faith Ministry he founded, was heard resisting a call by police Inspector General Patrick Sudue to end the worship service in view of the health emergency announced by authorities.
When the Inspector General arrived at Sen. Johnson’s church along with several officers, he told the furious-looking senator that the Police had not gone there not to cause instability but to enforce the law.
The police chief struggled to get his message across to the lawmaker who interrupted him in defiance. Col. Sudue managed to say: “Honorable, will you listen to what I have come to tell you. I am trying to listen because you are a senator of Liberia.”
Sen. Johnson literally over-talked Col. Sudue during the verbal exchange, loudly saying that: “The first thing you people should have done was to close down the Legislature…73 lawmakers (Representatives) are meeting every Tuesday and Thursday and 30 senators, [too]… you do not have the power to close the Legislature but you have the power to close the house of God—is that what you want? In fact, the President did not mention that in [his] annual message.”
Swiftly, the police Inspector General responded by saying, “The Legislature has its own rules, I cannot enforce laws on the House but when it’s required to do so, I will.”
The lawmaker, again, fired back at Col. Sudue and his officers by saying, “You can sit down because we are just about to close. Mister police director please do not disturb my church, sit down and listen to the word of God. We’ve finished preaching in after forty minutes.” The Senator soon called on his congregation to rise for the closing prayer.
Then the pastor Johnson went on his usual commentary of politics whenever he takes the microphone on his church’s altar. This time, he threw jabs at the Police Inspector General in his benedictory prayer.
“Our God our Father, we thank you for that anointing that allowed us to preach this morning in the midst of intimidation and harassment from the Police Director. We thank you for allowing us to preach. I just spoke with the Minister of State and the President did not give such order,” Pastor Johnson said in his prayer.
Howbeit, it is yet to be known whether the lawmaker will continue to go against the Public Health Law which now forbids large gatherings. The Coronavirus is taking thousands of lives across the word and its impact could plunge many economies into recession.