Two pastors of the Whole Bible Believers Church, David Anifowose and Peter Josiah, have been arrested for harbouring about 77 people
It was alleged that the pastors hypnotized them and camped them in an underground apartment within the church located in the Valentino area of Ondo town
The rescue of the victims and arrest of the “men of God” followed complaints by some parents of the children who had been camped in the church
Ondo state – Police officers in Ondo have found and rescued 77 persons, including 26 children, from the basement of a church in Valentino area of the state.
Confirming the report, Funmilayo Odunlami, police public relations officer (PPRO) in Ondo state, told TheCable on Saturday, July 2, that an investigation has been launched into the incident.
The police spokesperson disclosed that early findings indicated that the persons were kept in the basement by a pastor preparing for rapture.
“It’s a case of suspected abduction. It’s a church-related issue — a pastor who claims that Jesus is coming soon and rapture will take place by September and he harboured all of them in a house.”
What is the rapture?
According to the Christian doctrine, it is the period of the second coming of Christ where all believers will be caught up (i.e., “raptured”) to meet the Lord in the air.
How the church members were rescued
Odunlami told Channels Television that the police had received an intelligence report “that some children are being harboured at The Whole Bible Believers Church AKA Ondo Church, Valentino area, Ondo Town”.
Police officers quickly sprung to action, but on getting to the church, they were attacked by the members. Two of the church’s pastors were later arrested and are in custody.
“In all, 77 members – Twenty Six (26) children, Eight (8) teenagers and Forty-Three (43) adult members were rescued.”
Pastors deny hypnotising members
It was gathered that one Pastor Josiah Peter Asumosa, an assistant pastor in the church was the one who told the members that rapture will take place in April but later said it has been changed to September 2022.
In an interview, the resident pastor, David Anifowose, and Josiah, denied the allegation of hypnotising their members’ saying they only preached undiluted words of God to them, Vanguard reports.
Student abandons school
The police spokesperson added that a family that was around during the rescue disclosed that their daughter left home in January 2022 to start living in the church. The girl, a part three student, also dropped out of school due to the strange teachings of the pastor.
Pastor arrested days after making many fall under “annointing”
Meanwhile, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested the general overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, Rev. Ugochukwu Emmanuel Ekwem, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for dr*g peddling.
Topnewstv.com.ng reported that the cleric was arrested while on his way to a three-week crusade in Nairobi, Kenya, with 54 sticks of dr*gs wrapped around his body.
Videos shared online had shown some ‘spiritual actions’ performed by the cleric weeks before he was arrested. In the clips, the general overseer laid his hands on members during a deliverance service, making them fall under the ‘power of his anointing’.