A pastor from Douala, Cameroon, Franklin Ndifor, is believed to have died from the coronavirus. Ndifor, who was recently engaged in efforts to distribute aid to those suffering in Cameroon due to the restrictions necessitated by coronavirus, was also reportedly laying hands and praying for his followers who have the coronavirus. Ndifor passed away on Saturday, May 16th, but his family and followers attempted to prevent police and healthcare workers from burying his body in the hope he would rise from the dead.
Police in Douala Deployed to Bury Body
The governor of Cameroon’s coastal region said he deployed police in Douala to force their way into Ndifor’s residence and allow Cameroon’s COVID-19 response team to move the pastor’s body. It appears Ndifor was buried sometime on Saturday. There are two conflicting reports about where the pastor was buried. One saying in front of his home while another saying that authorities transported his body to Koto Bass Cemetery in Bonaberi, Cameroon.
Hundreds of Ndifor’s followers crowded outside the leader’s residence in Douala, Cameroon, on Sunday morning praying for his resurrection. The crowd believed the pastor was on a spiritual retreat with God and that he would return soon. Their songs of worship and prayers for resurrection were broadcast on the radio.
According to Dr. Gaelle Nnanga, Ndifor died less than a week after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Nnanga was called upon to administer medical aid by some members of Ndifor’s church, Kingship International Ministries, on behalf of their struggling pastor. Nnanga says Ndifor was experiencing severe respiratory difficulty and died less than 10 minutes after being treated.
Speaking to Voice of America (VOA), Rigobert Che, a follower of Ndifor, said the pastor, who was considered a prophet by some, prayed for him and several other people, some of whom had been diagnosed with COVID-19, last Wednesday. Apparently people have been seeking Ndifor’s prayers as a cure for the virus and, according to Che, the pastor gave them reason to think he could cure it.
“This is a pastor that has been laying hands [on the sick] and claiming that he cures COVID-19,” Che said. “If you, the person that claims that you are curing COVID-19, you are dead, what about the fellow people that were affected by the COVID-19? Now that he is dead, I do not know how the people that he was laying hands on will be healed.”
VOA also reports that Ndifor was praying for COVID-19 patients in his home and his church. While these actions might seem incredibly risky and foolish, some of the aid he was offering was practical. He donated buckets and soap to Cameroon’s poor so they could hopefully prevent contracting the coronavirus by washing their hands. The pastor had also been distributing face masks on the streets as late as April 20th. According to the information from Nnanga, that date was before the pastor knew he had COVID-19.
Who Was Franklin Ndifor?
Ndifor founded Kingdom International Ministries, which is described as a nondenominational church on its Facebook page.
In 2018, Ndifor ran in Cameroon’s presidential election. Ndifor was the candidate for the National Citizens’ Movement of Cameroon. The pastor garnered only 23,000 votes, finishing in seventh place and ultimately losing to incumbent Paul Biya.
Ndifor was 39 years old when he died.