A Nigerian pastor was left blinded after being tortured by security agents who falsely accused him of using counterfeit money.
International Christian Concern shares the story of Ejimozor Williams, 46, the pastor of Gracious and Mercy Prophetic International Church in the town of Egbeda in Ayobo state. Back in 2014, Department of State Services (DSS) agents raided his home looking for a "houseboy" named Chukwujekwu, who was accused of defrauding local residents by using fake currency, according to Pulse.
Williams was letting Chukwujekwu live in his home, but after seeing the agents, he immediately fled, thus passing the blame onto the pastor.
"During the search, they found the fake dollars Chukwujekwu used to defraud people in the area. They said I should sign a statement, but I refused," Williams said. "They beat me up."
He was taken to the DSS office in Magodo: "It was when we arrived at their head office that I realized they were DSS officials," he explained. "They chained my hands and feet. The next day, they informed me that [one of the local residents] told them that we both used fake dollars to defraud people. I denied the claim."
For three weeks, Williams was held "incommunicado" and he was "constantly tortured". The pastor recalled how one agents bashed him in the head with a pistol, causing part of his skull to compress.
"After another round of torture, I fainted and was rushed to a clinic where they told them that my blood pressure was low," Williams recalled.
He was later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Lagos State Police Command. He was then taken to Ikoyi Prison.
There, he began to suffer from a horrible migraine.
"This led to a partial stroke. I was at home some weeks later when everywhere suddenly went blank. I couldn't see anything again and that was how I went blind," Williams said. "Now, I cannot do anything for myself and my family. I am frustrated. I also have diabetes and high blood pressure."
According to a 2001 report from the CIA's The World Factbook, about 50% of Nigeria's population is Muslim, 40% are Christians and 10% adhere to local religions. However, Nigeria is ranked 12th on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution, and has received the maximum score in the violence category.
The outlet notes that while most of the persecution against Christians is carried out by Muslim extremists Hausa-Fulani Muslim herdsmen, the government has shown little interest in responding to the continuing violence.