Police Speaks On Alleged Kidnap Of Church Members, Children Rescued In Southwest Nigeria

The Ondo State Police Command said a pastor of the church promised the members that Rapture would take place this year and influenced some of them to abandon schooling.

The Police in Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria, has reacted to the report of alleged abduction of children rescued from an underground apartment of a church in the Valentino Area of Ondo town. 

Several media outlets reported earlier that some children were rescued by the police on the evening of Friday, July 1, after residents raised an alarm over suspicious activities in The Whole Bible Believers Church, popularly known as “The Ondo Church.”

Eyewitnesses said children were taken to  the police headquarters in a patrol vehicle after the raid. 

Confirming the incident in a statement on Saturday evening, Funmilayo Odunlami, spokesperson of Ondo State Police Command, said a pastor of the church told members that Rapture would take place in April. 

He  later said “it has been changed to September, 2022 and told  the young members to obey only their parents in the Lord,” part of the police statement read. 

“Another family who was also around during the rescue said their daughter, a part 3 student, dropped out of school due to the strange teachings of the Pastor and left home in January, 2022 to start living in the Church,” Odunlami added. 

Seventy-seven (77) church members were rescued, including 26 children, eight teenagers, and 43 adults. Two pastors of the church are also in police custody for interrogation. 

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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