From Laolu Akande, New York
THE Ukrainian police have summoned a famous Nigerian pastor, Sunday Adelaja, to report for what is feared may be arrest and detention over a controversial case bordering on racial discrimination and religious victimisation, which have been going on for the past three years.
Adelaja is in charge of the country’s biggest church based in the Kiev capital city.
Confirming the invitation by the nation’s Internal Affairs Ministry in an interview with The Guardian, Adelaja said the case for which he was being summoned was about the collapse of a business, King’s Capital, which was owned by members of his church, but which he or the church administration had no formal or official relationship with.
Adelaja, who was described last year by the New York Times as one of the country’s “best known public figures”, is facing what is seen by many as trumped up charges in a country, where another Nigerian young man was recently charged with attempted murder after he fought to defend himself from the assault of four Ukrainian attackers.
Adelaja, who is founder and pastor of what is widely regarded as the largest church in Europe, The Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations, said he had been summoned by the Ukraine national police to appear today on charges bordering on how members of his church ran a business enterprise, King’s Capital, aground and also allegations that he is running a criminal organisation.
That business may have been worth about $100 million, according to Adelaja’s church reporting on the case.
Dismissing the allegation as mere political charges that bear no resemblance to fact, Adelaja said “in Ukraine, you don’t have to commit a crime before you are accused, you only have to be targeted.”
In the same vein, his attorney, a well-known Ukrainian lawyer, Andrey Fedur, stated also that as far as the law was concerned Adelaja “cannot be punished, for he does not have anything to do with this case. The charges are absolutely made up and have no foundation.”
According to a New York Times report last year, “Adelaja has built a vast religious organisation under the banner of his church, Embassy of God. He has become one of Ukraine’s best known public figures,” making him by far a significant leader in the country whose favour politicians have curried in the past, causing them to win victories to high public positions.
While Adelaja’s political battle has been on for over several years now, since 2009, the invitation to the state police today is seen as a heightening of the case, after some members of the church have been detained for over two years now.
Besides, the pastor is under constant police surveillance and not allowed to travel out of the country.
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