PYJ, Police IG War of Words Passes off Peacefully

Senator Prince Y. Johnson

The war of words which erupted between Nimba County Senator Prince Y. Johnson, also clergyman of the Faith Chapel of Christ, and Police Inspector General, Col. Patrick Sudue on Sunday, March 22, following the IG’s shutdown of the church service passed off peacefully without incident although, according to sources, parishioners were gripped with fear that violence would have ensued during the encounter.

IG Sudue had gone to the Faith Chapel with some LNP officers to enforce a late-night declaration from Wilhelmina S. Jallah, Minister of Health, declaring Liberia “a National Health Emergency.”

The declaration ordered schools, churches, mosques, religious centers, and other places of worship closed.

The order also decrees the closure of all bars, nightclubs, betting centers, cinemas, and Video Clubs and entertainment for a period of 21 days.

Director Sudue, on Sunday, entered the church while Senator Johnson was at the alter delivering his sermon and ordered the immediate closure of the service .

Patrick Sudue, Inspector General, Liberia National Police

Rev. Senator Johnson, in response, told the Police IG that he was disturbing the church activities, emphasizing that he was not aware of any declaration from the government or health authorities ordering the closure of Sunday worship service.

In an audio recording circulating on social media, Senator Johnson is heard saying:  “Mr. Police Director please do not disturb my church.  Please sit down and listen to the word of God. Please sit down. I am on the pulpit preaching the word of God and you are disturbing.”

Sudue also indicated: “We are not disturbing the church, we are just enforcing the law that the government made.”

Senator Johnson replied: “I am preaching the word of God. Mr. Police Director, please do not disturb this church. You can see the benches empty. Well, the President did not tell you to close the church.”

IG Sudue also responded saying: “Except the President can call to say that is not so.”

Senator Johnson replied: “We have received no citation. Young man, the first thing you should have done is to let the House of Legislature close. Seventy-two (72) lawmakers are down there meeting every Tuesday and Thursday. Thirty (30) Senators meet Tuesday and Thursday and you do not have the power to close the Legislature but you have the power to close the house of God? Is that what you want? The President did not give that order in his annual message.”

He then instructed the Police Inspector General to sit and listen to the closing prayer: “But just sit down, we are about to close. We finished preaching about 40 minutes ago.”

In the prayer, Senator Johnson said: “Lord, thank you in the midst of intimation and harassment from the Director of Police…” following which he urged members of the church to follow all the preventive measures from the government in order to remain healthy.

He told the congregation to have faith in God as the COVID-19 will pass just as the deadly EBOLA outbreak in 2014, adding that as members return home, they should pray to God to end the virus because it is a global situation that requires God’s intervention.

The incident passed off peacefully although some worshippers admitted that they were frightened by the arrival of the Police at their church service.


  1. Thank God, senator/pastor Prince Johnson exhibited cool and leveled headedness in this matter, as compared to the denseness exhibited by our so-called IG.

    Any responsible government with peace, development and progress as its agenda or mission will always use caution, restraints and especially wisdom as a guide for all its actions instead of constant confrontation with its citizens.

    What if senator/minister Johnson had persisted in preaching and this crazy IG with his accompanying thugs had resorted to stopping the service at all cost as was preconceived, and the parishioners had stood with their pastor in this confrontation? Wouldn’t it have resulted into some needless melee, with bloodshed and even deaths as collateral?

    Was it farfetched that senator/pastor Johnson and congregation had not heard the announcement by the useless Health Ministry? And in any civilized, lawful society, would it be the minister of health to make/pass such emergency law/measure to curtail the liberty and free movement of citizens and not the president? Such a decision with constitutional implications for the country? And when the opposition reacts or rejects that stupidity then other equally boneheaded drags on the government cry foul? But every long rope has its end. It surely does!

  2. I am very glad because the closing of Rev. Senator Johnson’s church didn’t cause any bloodshed.

    In my view, the whole affair could have been handled differently.

    Both sides can trade a blame.
    Rev. Senator Johnson claims that he wasn’t informed or aware about the fact that the government had ordered the closing of schools, churches, entertainment centers, mosques and all religious places. It’s hard to believe the Senator’s version of the story, but it is not impossible. A sitting Senator and a man of God should have heard by now that schools have been ordered to close by the Liberian National Institute of Health.

    On the other hand, maybe more needs to be done by the National Institute of Health in terms of getting the news out. Maybe some people are not yet informed.

    IG Sudue:
    Sudue took the law into his hand. In other words, Sudue had the full backing of the law. But did Sudue go about this whole affair professionally?

    Maybe…….if Sudue has enough evidence to validate his claim that Rev. Senator Johnson was originally informed via the media, then it should be understood that Rev. Senator Johnson was being disrespectfully defiant.

    Maybe not: Whether IG Sudue has the proof or not, he could have waited until the end of service. Walking into church and demanding an immediate closure in case of war or fire makes sense. Anything short of that is questionable.

    The Truth…..
    It’s really hard to know if the real truth is being told on both sides.
    The whole affair ended without guns going off or without a fist fight. Since this particular issue happened in a church, I will not take sides. Rather, it’s fair to say that God prevailed upon the Rev. Senator as well as IG Sudue.

    Don’t let this repeat in the future.


  3. Dear my beloved brother, you are speaking on sentiment and unfounded theories. Your argument raised here proves you unworthy, subversive and unpatriotic. Sen. Johnson knowing fully well about this global pandemic, how contagious and speedy communicable the virus is, he wickedly defied the government health regulations and gathered his followers in the name of praising God. All these maneuvers tactics he is carrying out in the light of seeking God pardons for his atrocities he carried out in this nation. His human calculation will not do him well, because you cannot take back road to enter heaven. God is unique and you cannot bypass His Royal Sovereignty. He humanly succeeded in trashing downed all the charges levelled against him in the coursed of the 14 years crisis that he is of the key accomplices. But remember that the blood of those innocent Liberians he beheaded are still his head and God will not forgive him. This disease is hindering the highly industrialized nations that are billion times more sophisticated than our country. It is time a for he to be remorseful and kindhearted to the nation in particular, instead of initiating another agony for the nation. Putting followers together in this emergency situation is dangerous and shows no love for this nation. The IG could have him arrested and close the church and further arraigned him for defying such critical rules. Such people do not need to be in the midst of peaceful society because they already used to tyrannical commands and ought society to be obeisance to it. That,s why well meaning countries like Sierra Leone got raids of those evil guys to safe the future. The next time IG, you should carry out your duties without fear or favor in order to safe the state. Because we already have a broken down health system, any attempt for such deadlier disease to escalate, we will feels the pinch of hell,(God forbade)

  4. Mr. Michael Solee,
    I think you should re-read what I wrote. I did not take sides whatsoever. In fact, I did say that Sen. Johnson’s version of the story is hard to be believed. What can be done in order to contradict Sen.Johnson’s argument? Sudue has the burden of proof. There’s no way to slice it. If Sodue can prove that Sen. Johnson’s colleagues (meaning the lawmakers of Liberia) heard about the closing of schools, churches and mosques, that will be the enough.

    As matters relate to IG Sudue, his only problem is the manner in which he dealt with the issue. Sodue could have waited until the very end of worship. On the other hand, I do not blame Sodue for trying hard to enforce the ordinance. What I am concerned about is the manner in which he went about it.

    The last point to be made is whether the story was reported truthfully without secondary information. Primary information means “you’re there on the spot” when a particular incident incurred. Secondary information is based on what he said, what she said or what they said. So the question is did IG Sodue take a newspaper person with him? After all, maybe Sodue didn’t impel an immediate closure.

    You happen to have said that the system is not working straight in Liberia. I profoundly agree with you. The system got broken before Weah got in. But it is hoped that he will take a shot at fixing it.


  5. The Senator should have complied with the standard regulations per the emergency conditions without any exceptions, as a matter of fact, he should been an example of leader in his two capacities as a Senator and a Pastor….Shame on him. Liberians, there are no exception when it comes to our common national public health and without preference…Thank you to the national police.

  6. The Correct Measure

    The Chinese are Buddhist, all temples and places of Buddhist warships were closed in Wuhan. India has closed all Hindi temples for 25 days. Korean Shinto warships temples been closed now for one month and counting. Indonesia and Malaysia with huge Muslims populations along with the Philippine have warned everyone to stay away from any mass warships gathering. The Asians have stamp the spread of COVID-19 only because they are practical in what ever they do.

    We Africans ( south of the Sahara), “ pray”, but do not put our “ prayer” practically into practice. Therefore, you see us praying and not putting it in practice. Those who brought all those religions to us are taking drastic measures to follow safety. Even were Jesus Christ was burned ( palestin-Israel) is on a lockdown.
    Our mentality in Sub-Saharan Africa is what keeping us too backward. Every praying in itself is not a solution by itself. The solution is in the practical revelation. What you do when you are praying to your ‘God’ is what count.

    To Mr. Prince Johnson and other religious heads in Liberia learn from those who have made progress in stamping the spread of COVID -19.

    My thanks and appreciation to I G Sudue. Do your job sir. Because when the death toll begin to rise, those pastors will be no where around,
    Take the correct measure, Sir. I m in the medical field, and know exactly what I’m talking about. The safety of the people is the most paramount.

    Mamadu Bah. Meridian Health


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