The rescued kids
According to a report by The PUNCH, the Nigeria Police Force, Ondo State Command announced on Sunday that all the children who were allegedly kept in an underground apartment of a church, the Whole Bible Deliverance Church, in the Valentino Area of Ondo Town, Ondo State, had been released to their respective parents.
More than 77 kids had abandoned their homes and some had disowned their parents for church, claiming their parents were not teaching them the way of God.
It was gathered that 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 police on Saturday arrested the pastor of the church, David Anifowose, and his assistant, Peter Josiah, for alleged kidnapping.
Speaking on the development on Sunday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Funmilayo Odunlami, said all the victims had been released to their parents after their parade at the state police headquarters, Akure, on Saturday.
“The women and their children have all gone home since Saturday,” she said.
Meanwhile, a former member of the church, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said her four children were among the victims.
“I was a member of the church but I left but my four children were among those kept in the church, I even took the pastor to court over the matter but in spite of that, my children refused to come back home,” she lamented.
However, the pastor of the church, Anifowose, has denied the allegation of hypnotising or abducting the victims.
He said they only preached the words of God to members of the church but not for the children to disobey or abandon their parents.
“We did not tell them to abandon their homes; they came on their own personal volition and they were accepted. It’s a lie that we said that Jesus is coming in September. Nobody knows when he is coming,” he said.