A cleric has reportedly absconded with 52 mobile phones, money and other valuable items belonging to worshippers in Oyo state.
The pastor said he was ordered by God to travel from Gambia to Ibadan, Oyo state capital, for the purpose of the crusade. He reportedly asked the worshippers to pay N4,800 for a bottle of water mixed with perfume.
The incident was said to have occurred in Aponrin, Agbowo area of Ibadan.
NAN reports that the pastor asked the worshippers to drop their phones, money and other valuable items during the service.
The pastor reportedly told them that the directive was from the Holy Spirit.
Grace Akintola, one of the victims, said the pastor engaged many residents including widows in the three days of fasting and prayers.
Akintola said the pastor promised the worshippers a bag of rice and a cash gift, adding that students who attended the crusade were assured of receiving scholarships.
Pastor Flees With Congregants’ Phones, Money After 3-day Crusade In Ibadan
“The pastor approached an Igbo lady in our area to assist him to gather widows and students and that he wanted to help us,” she said.
“Someone in my area invited me to the crusade. The crusader put on priest’s regalia. He even said he would buy a fully-furnished house for one of us.
“The pastor equally promised some of those who attended the crusade money, the kind of money that even politicians could not give.
“On the last day of the crusade, he (pastor) sold a bottle of water for us at the rate of N4,800; he said that the water had been mixed with perfume and many people paid for it.”
A student of the University of Ibadan was quoted as saying the pastor claimed he was collecting their phones to avoid distractions during the prayer.
“He said no phone should ring during the programme and that was why he collected all of them,” the student said.
“In fact, he snapped at a lady who stood up and wanted to take his photograph and seized the phone from her.
“He (pastor) later said he wanted to go and eat inside the University of Ibadan after which we didn’t know how he escaped with our belongings.
“As a man of God that he claimed to be, we respected him a lot. We didn’t know that he wanted to use the name of God to dupe us.”
Residents of the community were said to have declared the pastor wanted with posters of his image posted across the town.
Confirming the incident, Adewale Osifeso, police spokesperson in the state, said the command has commenced an investigation into the case.