How preacher caused ban of collective prayers in Anambra markets – Obiano

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Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has said that evidence abounds that a certain religious preacher conducting regular prayers in the various markets in the state had created a culture of fear and was spreading rancour in the markets.

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Although a statement on Sunday by Mr. don Adinuba, his Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, did not name the said preacher, the Governor Obiano observed that the pastor was fond of ascribing every failure to the spiritual wickedness and manipulation by family members and fellow traders.

Adinuba said the traders have been complaining that the preacher had, in the process, been making a fortune at their expense.

He said: “The people and government of Anambra State are proud of the stupendous religious heritage of the state.

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“Our people’s intense spirituality has been immensely beneficial to the state in particular and the nation in general, even in business.

“Anambra State government has understandably been supportive of spiritual activities in markets, which include regular prayer sessions.

“In the last few months, however, the regular collective and compulsory prayers have been a source of controversy because of frequency and duration.

“Until recently, markets were compulsorily closed every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from morning till afternoon to enable traders to pray for success.

“A good number of traders have been complaining that the closures were too frequent. They have also been complaining that the constant market closures were depriving them of the opportunity to buy and sell, forcing customers from outside the state and other African countries to go to markets in neighbouring states.

“What is more, the traders accuse a certain religious preacher of being the brain behind the incessant closures for purely private gain.

“What may not be acceptable is the frequency of the collective and compulsory prayer session. To close down markets three times every week for several hours on each occasion in order to force every trader to pray at the same time will rob the state of its competitive edge and drive businesses to other places.”

In a fresh move, the Governor, however, advised each market to decide on a day and time in the month to shut down and hold prayers, even as he encouraged the traders to continue with their individual daily prayers.