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Pastor, assistant arrested in Ondo for having hypnotized 77 people

Police from the Ondo State Command on Saturday arrested a pastor and assistant pastor of a church, Whole Bible Believers Church popularly known as Ondo Church, David Anifowose and Peter Josiah, for allegedly attracted and housed about 77 people who were hypnotized in an underground church apartment.

The two pastors were accused by the people’s relatives of having hypnotized them and camped them in an isolated apartment within the church located in the Valentino district of the town of Ondo, in the local government area of ​​​​’Ondo West of the State, on the pretext of religious kidnapping. .

According to the Public Relations Officer of the State Police (PPRO), Funmilayo Odunlami, who explained that the two pastors were arrested following complaints from some parents of the underage children camped in the church and would never allow the parents to have access to their wards.

Odulami said 77 people, including 23 minors and 54 adults, were rescued from the lair of the pastors, who insisted that they be kept in the church for special purification and deliverance before the second coming of Jesus- Christ.

The two pastors who denied the allegations against them, however, said they never turned the children and the people against their biological parents, but learned not to disobey their fathers in the lord.

Speaking, one of the parents alleged that his daughter had been hypnotized and refused to come home since January and said the two pastors had brainwashed his daughter against her parents, while they encouraged them to drop out of school.

It was gathered that the arrest of the two church pastors followed complaints from some parents of the children who had camped in a special place in the church.

One of the parents who went to the church to pick up his daughter who was due to take her secondary school entrance exam caused an uproar and was expelled from the church and had to report to the police.

It was understood that the boy was not allowed to take the entrance exam as the two pastors had preached against the school because they would not need an education after being taken to heaven.

One of the parents, who identified himself as Ms Jessica Akintemi, said that two of her daughters and her husband had been hypnotized and had been living in the church since January 2022.

She said her husband, Rotimi Akintemi, a math teacher at one of the private secondary schools in Ondo, has stopped going to work but is waiting for the return of Jesus Christ.

She said my husband refused to come home since Jan 21 with my daughters and they stopped going to school waiting for the return of Jesus Christ as predicted by the pastors.

“I left the church because of the doctrine introduced by the new assistant pastor, Josiah. Most married women were encouraged to leave their marital home and divorce their husbands in order to reach heaven.

“The assistant pastor said he was called by God to rewrite the King James Version of the Bible because there are certain things that are not correct in the Bible and our children have been mesmerized with these teachings.

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“They were instructed to keep their hair shaggy to make heaven. Look at all the women around you. They will never do their hair and they have all been hypnotized to think that Jesus is coming in September.

“They were told to be ready to be raptured in April of this year, but the pastors told them that Jesus had delayed until September and urged them to stay in church for deliverance.”

However, the woman’s daughter, Priscilla, denied disobeying her parents but said she chose to follow her fathers’ directions in the lord in order to make heaven.

She said she decided to stay away from home and dropped out of the Millennium School of Health in third grade to obey and follow her father’s instructions in the lord.

She said, “My parents took the pastors to court over the matter and we are still in court and I am following the doctrine of the church following the dictate of my fathers in the lord to make heaven.”

While speaking, the assistant pastor said they were in the church in accordance with the message and prophecy received from God, saying, “We were in the church before we were rudely interrupted.”

One of those rescued, a graduate of the University of Medical Sciences, James Anifowose, said he decided not to observe the mandatory one-year service because of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it was contrary to church doctrine and chose to avoid youth body service.

However, the PPRO revealed that 77 people were rescued from the underground apartment by police during Friday night’s raid while the two pastors were arrested in connection with the incident.

She said: “We received information about the activities of a particular church and its pastors and we reacted spontaneously and discovered that 77 people were caged in an underground apartment within the church.

“The two pastors assisted the command in its investigation, the investigation is still ongoing and the picture is not yet clear on the activities of the two pastors.

“Kidnapping is no small offense for us, but in order for us not to mislead the public, we need to investigate the matter to get a true picture of what happened.

“The fact remains that there was a crime in a church and people around reacted and we went there to check it out, but we just need to investigate and sort out the facts about the incident. We will make our findings public after the investigation.”