Eight Nigerians arrested by Cambodian authorities for alleged drug trafficking have been denied by the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries Church, MFM.The church denied the eight drug traffickers as being members after they were arraigned in Cambodia on Tuesday, August 6, 2016 for allegedly using the MFM premises to deal in illicit drugs.
According to a report by Punch Newspaper, the accused may face life imprisonment if found guilty by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
In a statement by Chairman of MFM Media Committee Worldwide, Oladele Bank-Olemoh, the eight accused are not members of the church and linking the church with the illicit act was an attempt to dent the image of the church.
The eight accused of trafficking are Nnamezie Victor, 30;Francis Nnamdi, 30; Sunday Nwabuisi, 31; Tony Mmaduka Chukwuonye, 34; Okorom Kizito, 35; Favour Nnabuife Okorom, 36; Maduka Simon Ukandu, 37; and Izuchukwu Chukwuma, 40.
The accused Nigerians were also charged alongside a 25-years old Cambodian, Mon Vinyong, who was arrested with the group.
While a verdict on their trial is expected in September 2016, Bank-Olemoh stressed that the Cambodian branch of the church is still opened as no arrest was made neither was drug found in the church premises.
“The MFM church is not shut down. Our pastor is there and he’s busy in the ministry. Those arrested are not members of the church. They are neither our missionaries nor workers in the church. The MFM church is the only African church in Cambodia that many black people attend.
“You know the country is a Muslim country. This could be a vendetta against the church. This case (of alleged drug trafficking) happened in 2014. The church was searched and nothing was found, though arrests were made outside the church. We employed a lawyer to prove the church’s innocence,” Bank-Olemoh said.
In 2015, The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries gave out financial rewards of N91m to its members who graduated in First Class from different universities across the country.