Despite being set free by the police, children who were among the 77 individuals rescued from the subterranean cell of the Whole Bible Believers Church, also known as “Ondo Church,” in Ondo West Local Government Area, have refused to follow their parents home.
DAILY GIST reported that no fewer than 77 people were found locked in the basement of the church – the Whole Bible Deliverance Church, Ondo, located at Valentino Area of Ondo town, Ondo State.
The victims had allegedly abandoned their homes while some had disowned their parents for the church, claiming that their parents were not teaching them the way of God. The victims had allegedly been kept in the church for over six months while some of them had abandoned schooling to be inside the church.
The pastor of the church, David Anifowose and his assistant, Peter Josiah, were also arrested by the police.
The children, however insisted on staying back in the church until their pastors are freed by the police.
Embattled parents of many of the victims sobbed over their children’s refusal to return home with them as a result of the purported hypnosis, the twist only seemed more unbelievable on Monday at the police headquarters.
Some of the parents who besieged the police headquarters of the Ondo Command said their kids vowed not to leave the station until the pastors who were detained are released.
The parents complained that “black magic” had been used on the kids and insisted that the victims needed to undergo a comprehensive psychological evaluation.
Michael Olohunyomi, the father of one of the victims, revealed that his daughter Priscilla, 21, had been refusing to eat since Saturday because she believed the pastor should be freed.
“I was a member of that church and I was there for 32 years,” the bereaved father cried. When Peter Josiah was appointed as the church’s assistant pastor, everything about it changed. He introduced harmful heresy.”
Wande Oladapo, a victim’s brother, expressed shock that his 40-year-old sibling could be hypnotized and stated, “My brother has refused to go home after he was discharged on Saturday. He vowed not to leave his pastor in the cell unattended.
Speaking on the development, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami, confirmed that some of the victims did not follow their parents home after the police had asked them to go insisting that they would not go until their pastor was released from the detention.
She said, “Some of the parents said if not for what happened, they were not aware that their children have left school while some said they were aware that their children were in church but didn’t know the church.
“Despite all our thoughts, some of these victims refused to go home, saying they are ready to remain in police custody until their pastor and his assistant are released.
“We are trying to work out modalities on what to do to them to get them rehabilitated. We have over 10 who have refused to go home. We even have a child who said she will follow the Lord and not her parents. She said she was okay staying within the police compound since their pastor is still here.
“We are trying to work out a modality on how the Ministry of Women Affairs in the state can rehabilitate them.”
The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and social development, Princess Bunmi Osadahun said, the state government was working towards rehabilitating the victims.