Angry youths of Daudu community in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, on Tuesday, set ablaze Divine Shadow Church in Daudu over allegation connecting its founder, one Prophet Joshua Uhembe, to disappearance of male genitals in the community.
The youths had three days ago protested on the major Makurdi – Lafia highway over what they described as the disappearance of six persons’ manhood in the community within one month.
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Our correspondent recalled that one young man accused of stealing the genitals committed suicide last month in a classroom in the locality which also hosts three Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps.
But in the fresh arson of the church, the youths alleged that Prophet Uhembe and his accomplice, Noah Saka, were masterminds of the genitals disappearance.
Nongu Francis, who claimed to be a victim, told our correspondent that his genital was stolen on October,10 this year allegedly by the deceased who committed suicide.
Francis said he had worked in the farm of the deceased who later lured him to perform some bathing rituals with an instruction to stay away from sex for about six days, stressing that after obeying the command, he could no longer function sexually.
The victim further alleged that his situation was similar to many others who were bewitched by the deceased and his accomplice who would later recommend their victims to the accused prophet for deliverance and possible restoration of their organs.
Francis said his case was not a total disappearance but inability to get erection as it were before the ritual bath, adding that he now remains hopeless following the death of the accused man.
Another youth from the community, who simply identified himself as Jonah, said the continuing disappearance of the victims’ male organ propelled the burning of the church whose prophet the community suspected was instrumental to the alleged act unsettling youths of the community.
“We are surprised that someone who calls himself a man of God will stoop so low to be removing private parts of men for ritual purposes.
“The youths have done this to serve as deterrent to other people who may have such wicked intentions.
“We believed that if he [Uhembe] is not stopped, he may extend his activities to women too,” another angry youth alleged.
Our correspondent, however, could not traced the accused prophet for his comment at the time of sending this report, as some villagers alleged that he fled the scene of fire in his church.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for Benue Command, DSP Catherine Anene, has confirmed the burning of the church, adding that some persons were also arrested for destruction of public property.
“If you allege that somebody took your manhood, it is not a justification for you to go and destroy property.
“There is due process for everything.
“So, while they are at the hospital to confirm whether that is true, we will still handle them [the protesters] as people who have destroyed property,” Anene maintained.