The soldiers were providing security in addition to security operatives from the police, Civil Defence and the State Security Service. The Nigerian Army on Sunday said soldiers seen at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) in Abuja were not there to provide security or harass protesters.
Army spokesperson Sagir Musa told PREMIUM TIMES the military is holding an inter-denominational service across the country today, and soldiers are expected to take part in the worship.
The comments followed a PREMIUM TIMES enquiry about why soldiers were present at an ongoing demonstration against Biodun Fatoyinbo, COZA’s lead preacher now under fire for alleged rape.
At least four soldiers were seen carrying out cordon activities at the protest, which was organised and allegedly attended by women.
The women are demanding the immediate resignation of Mr Fatoyinbo from the church he established in the late 1990s.
The soldiers were providing security in addition to security operatives from the police, Civil Defence and the State Security Service.
The security agents’ presence was in addition to the church’s own security.
Protesters told PREMIUM TIMES the heavy security was an attempt at intimidation but said they would remain defiant.
Many people were turned back from entering the church before Sunday service commenced at 9:00 a.m., amid suspicion that non-members might storm the auditorium to embarrass Mr Fatoyinbo.
It was not immediately clear whether Mr Fatoyinbo would attend service today over the allegations, which he had denied and threatened lawsuit.