NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – Three people were on Saturday arrested in Nairobi’s Buru Buru estate after Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko stopped demolition of city church by armed youths who had been hired by a private developer.
Sonko stormed the location after receiving a distress call from members of the church who were being forcefully evicted by the hired youths. During the incident three members of the hired goons were arrested by police and crude weapons including machetes recovered from the gang.
Speaking after securing the church which also houses a school for over 300 children, Governor Sonko vowed to ensure justice is done to stop grabbing of the land where the church is built.
“This is a heinous act. Where on earth can one demolish a church and grab land? We cannot allow this to happen in Nairobi. We must respect human beings regardless of their status whether rich or poor. I will be the first person to die for defending the poor. The riotous youth were heavily armed, but I thank God we have rescued some church members who were being attacked and about six of them are recuperating in hospital with injuries,” Governor Sonko said.
Sonko now wants Inspector General of Police to take action against police officers from Buru Buru who accompanied the armed youths to demolish the church and school.
“I want to assure all Nairobians that no land will be grabbed under my watch. No matter how rich one is or how well connected they are, we must respect all people. Where on earth can someone demolish a church? That’s evil. I now want the police boss to take action against the police responsible for the attack.,” added Sonko.
The governor has said the man behind the grabbing of the church is a well-known land grabber who is using court orders to take over parcels of land in Nairobi.
Speaking at the scene, Joan Ocholah Oketch who is one of the owners of the church accused her sister of scheming with the private developer who wants to take over the property.
“We are the original trustees of this property of glad-tidings, but my sister went to Land Ministry and removed our names as owners of the land, but the matter is now before court. Our mother who is also a trustee is very sick because of this matter,” Oketch said.
“The Glad Tidings Crusade Ministry was registered in 1975 and we acquired the property which is roughly one acre in 1979, but the tittle under the name of the Ministry was registered in 1984,” She said.
Florence Mwaura who is a Principal at the school said she reported the case at Buruburu police station on Saturday morning under OB number OB 9/25/52019 after the armed youths stormed the church compound and started demolishing structures.
“We leased the premises for 10 years from the Glad Tidings Crusade Ministry and they allowed us to put temporary structures for the last 7 years and we wonder how the alleged owners acquired the property.
The arrested suspects are expected to be arraigned in court on Monday.