The south-east chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has banned political campaigns from churches after 28 people were killed in a stampede at the conclusion of a "crusade" on Saturday.
Roughly 100,000 people attended a weekly gathering at Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry church last weekend. The venue, reportedly had already dramatically exceeded its maximum capacity of 5,000, when Anambra Governor Peter Obi and the All Progressives Grand Alliance party's candidate for governor, Willie Obiano, stopped by at the gathering.
Ebube Mmuo Nso, a charismatic Catholic priest speaking at the church had reportedly warned Obi not to attend the event as "people already knew whom to vote for so they should be left alone."
But according to witnesses, Nso's pleas were disregarded and after Obi and others charged into a hostile crowd, the situation devolved into a stampede. Stampede survivors claimed to have heard shouts of "fire" as thousands of Nigerians tried to run away.
Obi, who visited the more than 200 injured in the hospital, said that he would launch an investigation into what caused the stampede.
Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma, Chairman of CAN in South-east and the Bishop of Enugu Anglican Diocese, said that it was inappropriate for politicians to be visiting churches.
"It is my own duty as CAN chairman South-east to ban all politicians from attending our churches with their political teams for campaigns. The church should also steer clear of partisan politics because there are different kinds of people in the church that belong to different political parties," Chukwuma told This Day Live.
"So it's wrong to come into the church and begin to talk about manifestos and begin to campaign. It is not going to be acceptable any more because it causes commotion and disrespect to one another," he added.
He also accused Obi of rather than "playing blame games with lives of innocent citizens" rather than being "being remorseful and apologetic."