A pastor, Prophet Godwin Ayenugh, founder of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, the Gethesema Zion Church in Igbokoda area of Ondo State, has been arrested for being behind false kidnapping threats to swindle rich members of his church.
According to Vanguard, it all started when Ayenugha’s accomplices began an outreach to rich members of the community, promising that their problems were spiritual and would be a thing of the past if they joined the church.
The paper said alleged tactic reportedly paid off as the church was soon bristling to the brim and “signs and wonder” happened on daily basis while word about the church got to neighbouring council areas where people, in search of miracle, also trooped to the place.
It said sometime later, some elders of the church, allegedly at the prompting of the prophet, started picking on affluent members, one after the other, and sending text messages to them to announce that they will be kidnapped and, to avoid this, they should pay various sums of money.
Panicky members would run to Ayenugha for counselling and he would volunteer to step into the matter by helping them in the negotiations with the kidnappers on how and where to pay ransom, the report added.
The bubble, however burst when the alleged syndicate picked on a wealthy member of the church identified as Omosaye twice.
Ayenugha was said to have told the victim earlier that he saw a vision that he (wealthy church member) would soon be kidnapped and that he needed to pray to avert it.
“The victim, who had been kidnapped sometime, last year, and regained his freedom after paying huge ransom, was soon, thereafter, sent another text message by the suspects”, our source said.
“The suspects informed the victim that they will be coming to kidnap him again and they threatened to kill him if they eventually succeeded in kidnapping him this time around. But that he can save his life by paying a certain amount of money.
“The victim, however, informed the police which immediately swung into action and the owner of the phone used to send the message was traced and arrested.
“The owner of the phone fingered the prophet and he was picked up”. Speaking on the case, Ondo State Police Commissioner, Gbenga Adeyanju, told Sunday Vanguard, “The suspects were arrested through a network of intelligence gathering by detectives”.
“On the receipt of the complaint, detectives from the command swung into action and, through intelligence gathering, arrested one Ibukun Adetigha and later arrested Prophet Godwin Ayenugha, the founder of a church in Igbokoda.
“The Techno handset that was used in sending the text message was recovered from them. Upon interrogation, the two suspects confessed to have sent the text message but denied their involvement in the abduction of the victim.
“Prophet Godwin Ayenugha happened to be the spiritual father of the victim who claimed to have seen vision that the victim would be kidnapped”.