Mountain of Fire Church In Desperate Measures To Justify Harassment of SaharaReporters Crew At New Year’s Eve Service

Encounter with Prayer City Army at MFM
Encounter with Masquerades in Ere-Ekiti Ondon state
By SaharaReporters, New York

After several days of subtle threats and manoeuvres, the authorities of the Mountain of Fire Church has released a public statement in which it tried to justify the abuse and detention of a SaharaReporters team during its recent New Year’s eve service.

In the event, previously reported by SaharaReporters, the church task force, police and the State Security Service molested and illegally detained Saharareporters’ crew during a “cross-over” night service on December 31, 2012.

In a statement signed by Pastor Oladele Bank –Olemoh, the chairman of the church’s Publicity Committee, MFM said that it has an open door policy as regards the media, and that many journalists were accredited to cover the
cross over night.

“Sahara crew never applied and was never accredited as one of the media organizations to cover the event, 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 said nothing about the harassment meted out to the reporters, the illegal detention, or the degrading treatment.

Nor did it say anything about previous contacts between SaharaReporters and MFM PR teams following the publication of our story.  

MFM’s statement followed days of covert pranks by the church staff and a former journalist of The Guardian newspaper, Idowu Ajanaku, who we learnt was hurriedly assigned the role to end the bad publicity against the church.

On January 8, Mr. Ajanaku called the publisher of Saharareporters, Omoyele Sowore, to express the “shock and disappointment” of the MFM General Overseer, Daniel Olukoya regarding the conduct of the church “Prayer City Task Force” in the molestation, false arrest and detention of his team by MFM Church’s security teams.

Mr. Ajanaku promised that the General Overseer was unaware of the cruel and degrading treatment and wanted to apologize to the SR crew.

Curiously, the same Ajanaku then said he would send to SaharaReporters Dr. Olukoya’s telephone numbers so that the reporters could call him and accept his apologies on behalf of MFM, and shortly after, delivered by text message two special telephone lines for Dr. Olukoya.

But Mr. Sowore replied that he was not interested in calling the overseer when it was his people that had abused and violated the rights of the reporters on church premises.  Ajanaku’s response by text was that there were many versions of the incident and that the GO would like to hear directly from Mr. Sowore and his crew.

Mr. Sowore declined the invitation, insisting that the GO carry out independent findings on his own.

While that angle was in progress, it turned out that the GO had called Lagos blogger Seyi Macaulay and threatened “no one fights MFM and survives.”  

Dr. Olukoya told Macaulay that he felt SaharaReporters had taken him for granted, but Macaulay said he told the pastor that it was necessary that the church make amends as the video published by SaharaReporters clearly shows that the crew was maltreated.  Dr. Olukoya would later reveal to Macaulay that he saw things playing out while he was preaching that night and asked Macaulay to let Sowore know that he would be calling to apologize.

Macaulay then called Sowore to intimate him of the developments, including a statement that the GO gave him an appointment   for an interview with the blogger.

Macaulay reported later that when he arrived for the interview at the church premises in Lagos, he met young church members on Facebook and the SaharaReporters website writing anonymous comments to condemn the Saharareporters crew.

The underhanded method had been in effect on the website for several days by church members who posed as different people to post comments on the website vilifying SaharaReporters.  From members of a church that professes love and tolerance, the anonymous comments delivered various threats, insults and condemnations.

But the church’s statement by Pastor Bank –Olemoh attributed MFM’s “open door” media policy to its conviction that it is in the ‘interest of the public.’

The church then sought to justify its action of harassing and molesting the journalists on security challenges in the country, presumably in the North.

“In view of the security challenges facing the nation and the body of Christ in particular, MFM has the right to monitor the movement of people in and around our church premises”, the statement said.

Trying to prove that SaharaReporters was wrong and further needlessly demonizing northern Nigerian Muslims, the statement asked: “Can Sahara barge into a Mosque to cover an event without permission?”

Answer: Our crew in the North once covered for two years covered "great treks" by Muslim sects of the Shiites denomination walking long distance from Kogi, Niger, Lagos, Nassarawa, Abuja and Lokoja to Zaria. SaharaReporters crew in the North has attended breakfast meeting with Muslims several times without molestation. Our crewmembers have attended several events at the Sultan Bello mosque in Kaduna to cover sermons given by Sheikh Gumi and reported several of them on this page.
 
When in Zaria we attended event by Shiites, led by El Zazzaky, inside the sect’s Mosque without molestation or harassment--without prior accreditation.

Members of the sect even offered us water and food, but the same cannot be said for out detention at MFM, where we were denied water even when we offered to buy.  

At the cross-over event, the MFM members were hostile, bestial and intolerant, not only to us but petty ware sellers that converged on the church to make a living. We repeat that some of those poor traders were being openly whipped and that one man was chained to a door close to the dirty toilets at the church’s security post.

Members of MFM may also like to hear that two days after our nightmarish experience at their church, we “barged” into a Masquerade festival in Erekiti, Ondo State.  As a forthcoming footage on Youtube will show, the masquerades and their handlers were nice and warm to us in broad daylight, in complete contrast to our experience in the church.  

MFM asked: “Is Sahara which is based in The United State of America saying it does not know the normal procedure for covering an event?”
Answer:  In the United States we can “barge” into churches and shoot videotape as long as the church invites the public to their crusade or service.  Television stations routinely enter churches uninvited to carry out their journalistic duties.

But above all,  it is important to state that these contradictory and childish questions has already been answered by the MFM church by stating in its release that we duly asked permission and was granted permission by church officials after declaring our intention to film the “Cross Over” service, in fact, three times during our sojourn in the church auditorium we had our identity cards checked by church officials after fully disclosing that we wanted to get to film Dr. Olukoya up close.

SaharaReporters would like to state that there was no way its crew could have gone beyond the spot allowed them by the church who showed them the way to their location in the massive auditorium because Dr. Olukoya operated exclusively from a heavily guarded fenced perimeter where his podium was located. At no time did our crew go beyond the perimeter before the church task force attacked us.

MFM asked: “Can Sahara barge into an event in USA to cover without an accreditation?”

Answer: Yes. The US maintains an open society, as restated recently by President Barack Obama when a public petition drive targeted a British national, Piers Morgan of CNN, because he “barged” into internal American politics by asking for gun control.

It should be noted that most Nigerian journalists who apply for accreditation to cover events do so to collect honorarium, otherwise known as ‘brown envelopes,’ at events. The practice of accreditation has imposed strong limitations on the ability of most Nigerian journalists to perform their duties independently, conduct investigations, and work without fear or favor.  It is the reason that over 25 Nigerian journalists accredited by MFM for the cross-over missed one of the most important events of that night or failed to report it even though they saw it: the arrest and abuse of the SaharaReporters crew.

Finally, the church deliberately left out from its statement, two key questions.  The first is the illegal imprisonment and roughening -up of the reporters for four hours.  

The second is that SaharaReporters also wrote about the brutal treatment, seizure of equipment, and illegal detention of some teenagers within the church premises for selling Christian literature, praise and worship song notes, handkerchiefs and petty items.
MFM, self-absorbed, also ignored this.

The Statement by Pastor Oladele Bank-Olemoh:
The attention of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries has  been drawn to a story on SaharaReporters, alleging how Mr. Omowole Sowore and his crew were mishandled at the cross over night at prayer city on January 1st 2o13.
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.
Besides, 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, 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.
In view of the security challenges facing the nation and the body of Christ in particular, MFM has the right to monitor the movement of people in and around our church premises.

Can Sahara barge into a Mosque to cover an event without permission?
Is Sahara which is based in The United State 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.
God bless you all.
Singed
Pastor Oladele Bank - Olemoh.
Chair Mfm Publicity committee

 

Comments
109 comment(s)
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Sowore u are too tooo small to bring MFM DOWN

SOWORE U ARE TOO TOO SMALL TO BRING MFM DOWN

TOO TOO SMALL.

Sowore is suffering from youthful exuberance

My take on all of this is that Sowore is critically suffering from youth exuberance and American mentality. He is video he said MFM engage in hear ritual hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

SOWORE you a typical example of those that crucify Our Lord Jesus Christ by the act of picture MFM pic with that of a masquerade. You have should the world the kind of person you are.

Sahara Reporter is gradually going down by this ur act.

Wel i dont blame u,d bible

Wel i dont blame u,d bible say "any one who bless u shal i bless and any one who curse u shall i curse".now u hv curse a man of God it is a pity 4 ur family;(

Let sahara report that thinks he stand take hid lets they fall.

i dare the whole of sahara reporters to barge into the camp of boko haram camp,if they are that Good in barging into just any place.and lets see what shall become of them.mr what ever wrote the report,people have done worse u wud nt be the first nor the last.but we all were they end up.gud luck Sowore.hahahhahahahahhahahahhaha

THERE IS DICIPLINE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD

Every one speaking ill of the man of God should careful.You guys are just spewing nonsense because you were not involved. with all the insecurities in the country and treats against the body of Christ? Guys grow up and forget these sentiment. Should Pastor Olukoya tolerate nonsense because he is a man of God. There is Dicipline in the House of God.

Dr Olukoya please clear yourself

Clear yourself from what. Should MfM just accept any body who claims to be a reporter just like that. Did you not hear about the insecurity treats before the new year eve. Should Olukoya just stay mute because he is a man of God. Guys grow up. By the way God himself will not forgive degrading uttrances against his own so i warn you to be careful when you speak against the body of christ.

Time will tell

Touch not my anointed and do my prophets no harm, the rod of a man of God is not in the hands of human beings but God . Winston Churchill said ."the only lesson we have learnt from history is that people don't learn from history. Time will tell whether you are right or wrong,but I weep for you because those who do not know about it will suffer the most in your family. Pls it's not a treat .time will tell.the greatest enemy of a man is what he does not know

is SR catching d xpected fun by seeing RELIGIOUS war start on dr

U setting d tone 4 a religious crises tru ur reporting. Ur leading pple astray while ur thk ur gaining more feet in journalism. Why not take dem 2 court 2 solve ds whole ish. Wateva d pastor his sudnt b ur concern. 4 d fact dat he is a man of God dn he deserves respect. Hmmmm! Listen 2 wat d spirit is sayn. U shall acct 4 all d soul ur leadn astray n even d dunce dt just jump in2 any issue.

human right on private property abi?

So dm dey practise human 4 private property abi? Oga oo. Nigeria n dr attitude/chicken brain sha......

Like y sud boko haram bombers

Like y sud boko haram bombers need accreditatn 2 blow churchs? We r so dense in ds country dt all we do is get a way 2 cos trouble.we left all 2 do wt pple stealn our money but continue draggn a issue not worth it. We only attack individuals lvg out d real culprits"our Government" bhind d issue of no security n wch has made us all over kiaful. SR isn't sayn d whole truth,while MFM mite also b sayn d whole tru, but let's watch our tongue so dt we dnt wrong d Prophet of God.

SAHARA WHAT? REPORTERS? REALLY???

Please can we end this discussion here? If SR feel their vrights were tranpled upon, let them go to Court. I bet you, no responsible Journalist would have been cuaght in this kind of situation. It is people that do not know SOWORE and his strategies that will be blabbing rubbish. All the millions of people that attend MFM and have been delivered from oppression of dark powers are all stupid. It is Sowore that is wiser than Kind Solomon. SR are destroyers. They destroy lives and integrity to make money. They should go to the Central Mosque in Borno State to misbehave like they did in Prayer City. Idiots that cannot even respect people's worship center. Let them go to ASO ROCK na? What am I really doing on this compromised site for goodness sake???

Mr. Olaoluwa the chief judge.

Mr. Olaoluwa the chief judge. You were asking if it was true that Olukoya said what you are trying to confirm. Did you hear it with your ears. You need to be very careful and work on your self esteem. Ordinarily, if someone talks ill of you, dont you tink your spirit will go against such. Mind your speech especially in public and more so in spiritual matters.

MFM Should Apologize

Apparently, the church security who let them in didn't know Mr Sowore but the other guys freaked out when they eventually recognized him. Of course they don't like him to expose their money-grabbing brain-washing scams because they know what he stands for. Otherwise, what does a house of God have to hide??? Same thing happens at Christ Embassy. They beat up anybody covering the church even from across the street. Naija Xtians, una be full-time MUMU.

And you claiming you're not an MFM member, you may not be but you're still a moron.

mfm harrasment

My problem wiv these pentecostal churches is. How they worship their pastors as if they were God. Evang... I did noy read anywia dat d reporters disguised. U r 1 of d pastors being spoken about pls come home & preach 2 nigs. Not evry1 has heard d gospel back home. Even u need 2 be checked & exposed. Mtcheew!

Reason,Reason,Reason!Where is our reasoning,our number 6?

"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason," says Thomas Paine in the preface to his treatise on religion, The Age of Reason. In this day of cancerous acrimony across political, ideological, and, especially, religious spectra, Paine's words have never been more apropos. To achieve peaceful coexistence in a shrinking world, reason must be the medium of exchange among people of differing views. Religionists and non-religionists alike must beware the fallacy of converse accident in characterizing each other, remembering that "if you've seen one, you haven't necessarily seen them all".
lt pains me a lot when people talk without reasoning,SR made clean case agaist MFM,instead of people making logical and factual comments,they chose to talk rubish.lf l have my way on earth,l'll abolish sentiments.Reason,think b4 you talk!

@ Ibrahim A. Zaria's rubish comment

@ IAZ, what do you worship at Kaba in mecca? black tomb where lucifer; Dajjal; lives abi or what? tell us who gave you the book you call holy Qur'an? How did you know that the MFM church is Illuminati?any prove? don't say what u dont know. anyway, tell us what is inside kaba that you worship every year.

It's a shame!

I find it uncomfortable that rights are abused in 'God's' house. If SR did not obtain clearance, how did they get to the alter amid the security? Assume they were not accreditated, does that justify their maltreatment? Is that what Jesus taught? It's unfortunate that religious sentiments have hindred proper reasoning in some. Even the police has no right to malhandle anyone let alone a church security. It has nothing to do with the GO in my opinion. The church security shd be properly educated.

Re SR v MFM

I have read every comment, but what I can see is that people are too religious and sentimental concening this issue, it iS not right for the leadership of MFM to detail the SR, because in the first place they allowed them in, and if truly they went beyound their bound they leasership of MFM should not have taken the law into their hands, they should atleast handed them over to the police, I felt that the leadership of the church shld have apologies to SR and what a shame to Nigerian journalism with brown envelop snydrom, they could not report the story probaly they were payed not to do so, so that it will not bring bad name to the church. Lord help the end time church, the church can not do without the media. SR keeping doing your good work

Enough SR- U HAVE SAID IT ALL

SR, you have said it all and you have made your point. Jesus Christ said that at the end time many will say to him Lord, Lord, we prophsied, made miracles & powerful works in your name yet i will tell to get away you workers of lawlessness. Knowing this should console you and move on. No man of god can kill any body. They cant even raise a fowl from the dead. They cant feed 50 people with 2 pcs. of bread and 2 fish. They cant cure a mad man/woman. I challenge any to do it on tv any sunday this January. Their yansh go open. Read the Gospels and see how Jesus & his disciples preached the Kingdom of God. Their miracles were very simple & from God.

MFM though its Nigerian Press-business as usual

Sahara you are the hopes of ordinary man...pls keep it up.
'Won ti ri n kan kan"

DISCUSTING JOURNALISM!!

I hitherto was a great fan of SR. I'm not a member of MFM but I know the Ministry so well. I'm ashamed of idiot Sowore and his crew. Junk jounalism and controvercy is their one-legged strategy of enriching themselves. The gates of hell (including SR) cannot prevail against the Church. SR, you have no right to trespass. You got what you deserve. I wish your team even worse! Idiots!!!!

Na wa oh! Why should anyone

Na wa oh! Why should anyone need accreditation to enter a church or a mosque for that matter? The house of God should be open to all. Its begining to look like the MFM has something to hide. In any case, the MFM is clearly wrong and should even apologise publicly. It won't hurt a bit. As for those bigots attacking SR, I am truly disappointed. I'm done, the god soldiers may start insulting me now.

Mr. Sowore has an angst with

Mr. Sowore has an angst with MFM. It is clear he has been looking for a way to besmirch Dr. Daniel Olukoya. I wish him whatever he wishes himself. It is not good to pick a quarrel with someone who has not wronged you. I also live in the US, you cannot carry a camera into a church without accreditation and the church has a right to evict you at any time. There is a need to obey law and order. The fact that we read Sahara reporters does not mean that the gentleman in question can besmirch our pastor at his will. I am sure he is free to cover MFM anytime. He needs to go through the right process and obey simple instructions. If a police man stops you in the US and requests that you raise your hands up you do it immediately otherwise you are dead. Obey before complain!. If he tries what he did in MFM in the US he will spend some days in jail.

MfM ko, MfM ni

Many a nigerians are fools. No wonder policeman go slao your face and you go dey look like dundy. No wonder policemen shoot some of your folks unprovoked. MFM my foot! An ass is an ass, simple. Easy for MfM to recruit 5000 foolish, hopeless and miracle-seeking youths to bombard SR. As for me, I only visit websites or read interesting news so I still wonder why some retartedgroup of people still load www.saharareporters.com on their browser when you know they lie or exaggerate. Could it be that you monitir sowore's progress?

You Should Know Better

At such an important service (crossing over to the new year), your presence was nothing short of a diabolic distraction and effrontery to the men, women, and children of God who were gathered to thank God for a soon-to-end year (2012) and to pray for their hopes for the new year that was coming (2013).

I wish you had the same "freedom of speech" audacity (or stupidity) to go barge into the National Assembly or the Aso Rock like you did at the MFM's New Year's Eve service!

SR Vs MFM; Mud smearing- Re:blind supporters of MFM Pastor

Wrong is wrong and can never be right. If SR did anything wrong on that day, why were they not handed to the police/soldiers on duty to curb wrong doers? If MFM were really wrong in their handling the issues that transpired between the Church and SR, why wouldnt SR cry out seeking redress? As for the blind supporters of the MFM pastor and his randy security team, justknow that your church answers Christianity which has its root in Christ's honesty and humility;hence accept what your faults are and apologize to SR. Note: being proud is d devil's sin which earned him eternal damnation. so a word is enough for d two waring parties.

I'M GETTING REAL DISGUSTED WITH THIS SR IDIOTS!!!

I hitherto was a great fan of SR. I'm not a member of MFM but I know the Ministry so well. I'm ashamed of Idiot Sowore and his crew. Junk jounalism and controvercy is their one-legged strategy of enriching themselves. The gates of hell (including SR) cannot prevail against the Church. SR, you have no right to trespass. You got what you deserve. I wish your team even worse! Idiots!!!!

There was aggression from both parties involved

there was aggression from both sides and I knowfor sure, if it had happened in a mosque... It would have earned the SR crew a DAGGER in the chest...

First, it was Ayo, then Adeboye, and now Olukoya. . .

You can not blame MFM Army for commenting about your cowries since we all know what is meant or used for.

The truth is that SR crew set out with an intention/plan and it just so happened that MFM played into their game plan

Sahara vs MFM

i personally feel that this is not called for in the first instance by sahara barging in without taking or obtaining due permittion. remember that this is Gods own sanctuary and how will it be that a person and so called crew went beyond the boundaries and caused chaos, the distraction that it caused was not good for even the church members and public.
MFM and its leader is/are leading people to salvation through christ Jesus and Dr. Olukoya is a respectable and honorable man anytime given.

Let fire fall...Amen

Madam siroro

But sir,did you not read the

But sir,did you not read the story you commented on?sahara reporters already said they went to a mosque(s) without accreditation.they even said they have a youtube video in the pipeline.you may not be a member of MFM but you are obviously one of the religiously blinded follow-follow morons!they should stop reporting as you are not interested?not interested in an abuse of human rights because it happened in 'the house of God'?no wonder Nigeria is still as bad as it is.with you likes representing the educated few(I guess you should be since you are computer literate)there is really hope!and to the other journalists that did not see the incidence as worthy of reporting,I say,keep up the good works!your works shall surely judge you all in the last days!

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