Lawyer Danstan Omari has demanded that Inspector General of Police Japheth Koome explain the forceful closure of New Life Prayer Centre on Sunday, May 7, which he claimed in a letter cost the church Ksh.20 million.

According to Omari, police officers forced their way into the church owned by Televangelist Ezekie Odero, who is currently under investigation for the Shakahola massacre, and made it impossible for worshippers to congregate.

“It is regretted that on the Sunday of 7th May 2023 your officers forcefully entered into our client’s church while other of your officers barricaded the entrance leading to the church effectively making it impossible for worshippers and believers to congregate for their Sunday service,” the letter writen to IG Koome reads. 

According to Mr. Omari, one of the lawyers representing the embattled preacher, the police actions were a slap in the face to freedom of worship, despite the fact that the church is registered under the Societies Act.

According to the letter, the Sunday losses include a loss of expected accommodation charges estimated at kshs.2 million, wasted food estimated at kshs.500,000, loss of offering and tithe, and a loss of the church’s image and reputation estimated at close to kshs.17 million.

At the same time, the lawyer claims that by barricading the roads leading up to the church, the police have locked out approximately 2500 workers who are currently working on construction projects within the compound.

Mr. Omari claimed that with workers locked out, the timelines for various projects will be impacted.

“As such, the school opening date for the Kilifi International School and the Kilifi University will more than likely be affected adversely to the detriment of the best interest of the children,” Omari said. 

The lawyer has warned that he will go to court to seek restitution for what he calls the IG’s officers’ continued flagrant constitutional violations.

“It is for the above-mentioned inconveniences and brazen constitutional breaches by officers acting on your instructions that you are warned of legal action being taken against you in person and other higher ranking police officers who have resolved to acting with impunity and in abuse of your constitutional mandate,” the letter reads. 

At the same time, Mr. Omari said he would be reaching out to the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA), to have the police IG probed for the alleged abuse of office. 

Just days after securing his release from custody, Pastor Ezekiel joined congregants at the expansive church in Mavueni on Sunday, appearing to defy a verbal order  issued by Coast Regional Coordinator Rhoda Onyancha during his arrest.

According to the Daily Nation, police attempted to blockade worshippers who arrived at the preacher’s 300-acre prayer centre as early as 5 a.m. on Sunday.

Lawyers for the televangelist, Danstan Omari and Cliff Ombeta, said there was no court order preventing Ezekiel from holding the church service.

“The compound hosts different businesses so it was illegal to barricade the gate. We have asked police to let worshippers in. They had no option but to let them in,”  Omari was quoted by the Daily Nation as saying.

Videos shared online showed the church packed to the brim as worshippers engaged in worship. 

By Citizen Digital