Residents of Aponrin in the Agbowo area of Ibadan, Oyo state have launched a manhunt for a Gambian pastor who allegedly absconded with people’s phones, money and other valuables after a three-day crusade.
The crusade tagged “Lord, help me” was held from Friday, March 31 to Tuesday, April 4, 2023.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the pastor, Dr Owen Abraham told the locals that he was directed by God to travel from Gambia to Ibadan for the crusade.
On the last day of the three-day crusade, he told the attendees to submit their phones, money and other valuable items, claiming that the directive was from the Holy Spirit.
However, he was said to have reportedly fled with those items and all efforts to find him have proved abortive.
Some residents of the community who spoke to NAN further revealed the pastor’s stunts.
Grace Akintola, one of the victims, said the pastor promised to give every widow a bag of rice and money while students would receive scholarships.
“The pastor approached an Igbo lady in our area to assist him to gather widows and students and that he wanted to help us,” Akintola, a widow, 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.”
Another victim, a student of the University of Ibadan, UI, who pleaded anonymity told NAN that the pastor said he was collecting their phones to avoid distractions during the prayer session.
“He said no phone should ring during the programme and that was why he collected all of them. A lady stood up and wanted to take his photographs but he seized the phone from her,” the student said.
Continuing, he said: “On the last day of the crusade, he said he wanted to go and rest at the hotel where he lodged. He later said he wanted to go and eat at UI; we don’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.”
Meanwhile, to track him down, posters bearing Abraham’s name and photo have been posted across the community.
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Adewale Osifeso, said the command has commenced an investigation into the case.
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