Susan Edeh, a Nigerian lady based in Vienna, Austria, has narrated in an interview how a pastor of Omega Fire Ministries identified as Jesse, his wife and church members brutalised her after she requested a refund of a loan she gave to the church to pay up rent arrears, a report by SaharaReporters has shown.
According to her, Jesse had reached out to her to support him with the payment of church rent to avoid eviction.
SaharaReporters had on January 3 reported that Edeh, who is also a member of the church founded by Apostle Johnson Suleman, was brutalised by the pastor who she had agreed to support and had taken a loan from her bank for the purpose.
It had also been reported that Pastor Jesse promised to pay back the loan but refused after several years.
According to her, anytime she requested a repayment, the pastor would start blackmailing and threatening to deal with her.
SaharaReporters learnt that Edeh paid a visit to the church on Sunday, January 2 in a bid to clear the air on issues surrounding the loans.
However, rather than a peaceful resolution as she had envisaged, trouble erupted as members of the church allegedly beat her, her child and the father of her children.
She said she was beaten to an extent that she lost a lot of blood but for the intervention of the police.
In an interview, Edeh said, “I live in Austria in Vienna city. On Sunday 2nd January, I had prepared to go to my church so I decided to go to Omega Fire Ministries where I used to attend. I recently stopped, to talk to members and the pastor concerning the loans I loaned him which they used to pay the rent for the church. I wanted to speak with everybody so we could just have an agreement concerning it.
“I got there with my three kids. I got to the church, we were at the altar actually dancing, they finished and the pastor said someone should give me the microphone; as I was about to talk, the problem started.
“I was just waving my hand and saying 'praise the Lord' when the father of my kids stood up to make a video and a lady kicked his phone off his hands and all of a sudden, they started kicking him and the pastor actually made a statement with the microphone telling them, ’beat Solomon, take him away from here’.
“I walked down to where the wife was standing and told her they should stop this, this is not why we came, I just came to talk to them. There's been a lot of blackmails, issues talks that have been going on concerning me.
“I also heard from some people I know from Auchi. Three weeks ago, the pastor made some videos and said some things that were not right and this is a church that I've been to for six years and I have friends there, even though I've not been there for two months now.
“In October 2021 when I told him they had to pay the money as agreed since 2019, he came up with a lot of text messages and voice notes threatening me. I felt it was better I speak out and bring clarity to the issue.
“This is not the first time he assaulted me for requesting for the money, early last year, I felt I couldn't stay in the church anymore so I informed him and his wife that I was going to be leaving, I decided to make it official because I worked with him. I also wanted to know every other arrangement on payment because I don't think I'd come back again.
When asked if she had any piece of evidence to show that the pastor was actually owing her, she said, “When the money issue came, as soon as I went to collect it, I just went to his office and gave him cash at hand but he never denied the fact that he's owing me because the church is actually paying 180 Euros into my account once in a while, that's the only evidence I have.”
Narrating further how the January 2 event happened, Edeh stated: “The beating started with the pastor because I was standing by him, someone already started beating the father of my children, so I went towards that side, he was also there and I told him to tell them to stop and then someone pushed me to him.
“It was like me resting myself on him because of the push from behind and then he immediately hit me and started beating me up, the church members also joined, I felt a lot of hands on me.
“I was going down on my knees and I couldn't hold him anymore but I saw the shoe of my daughter and heard her voice also, I just kind of had the strength to get up as I heard her voice.
“I saw the pastor's wife beside me so I grabbed her skirt to stand up so when they saw I was already up, they immediately started taking her away from me, that was how I escaped from them. An ambulance came and took me to the hospital.”
On how she has been coping with the loan repayment at the bank where she reportedly took it from, Edeh said, “There's a certain amount I pay to the bank every month and every three months, I also pay a certain amount to the bank for owing and credit so this makes it two different kinds of payment, they take it automatically from my account.”
On the intervention by the head church in Nigeria, Edeh said she already informed the wife to the General Overseer of the church, Lizzy Johnson Suleman of the loan in October last year and with the recent incident, she had to forward pictures and videos to her but she never got a response.