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Police rescue 77 persons — including 26 children — ‘kept in church basement by Ondo pastor’ (updated)

Police rescue 77 persons — including 26 children — ‘kept in church basement by Ondo pastor’ (updated)
July 02
17:20 2022

A total of 77 persons — including 26 children — have been rescued by police officers from the basement of a church in Valentino area of Ondo state.

Funmilayo Odunlami, police public relations officer (PPRO) in Ondo state, confirmed the development to TheCable on Saturday.

Odunlami said the rescued persons have been evacuated to the police command in Akure, the capital of Ondo state.

The police spokesperson although an investigation has been launched into the incident, early findings indicated that the persons were kept in the basement by a pastor preparing for rapture.

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Rapture — according to the Christian doctrine — refers to the period of the second coming of Christ when all believers are expected to be taken to heaven.

“It’s a case of suspected abduction,” the police spokesperson said.

“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.”

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Speaking further with TheCable on Saturday night, the police spokesperson said two pastors of the church have also been arrested over the incident.

Josiah Peters, assistant pastor of Hope Bible Believers Church where the persons were discovered, said the decision to keep people in the church was in obedience to an instruction from God.

“We were having seven days meeting on God’s instruction, that we should lock the gate and be with him for seven days,” he said.

The development comes weeks after the Ekiti police command invited Nuah Abraham, the pastor of Christ High Commission Ministry, Kaduna state, for questioning over allegations of asking church members to pay N310,000 to prepare them for rapture.

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According to the police, Abraham had asked his church members to relocate from Kaduna to a camp in Araromi-Ugbesi in Omuo-Oke, Ekiti state.

The pastor was said to have told his church members that the relocation was in order to “prepare for the end of the world”.

Editor’s note: This story has been update in light of information from the police that the rescued persons included adults and children.

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