Saturday, 3 December 2016

See the Strange Lagos Church Where Members Believe the Pastor is Jesus Christ

A really strange kind of church has been
revealed in Lagos where members act
different and believe the pastor is Jesus
Christ.
Vulcaniser bus-stop is very popular on
Akowonjo-Egbeda road in Alimosho Local
Government Area of Lagos State. Not far
from this bus-stop, on both sides of the
road, are some church buildings. Boldly
written on the sprawling signboards at the
entrance of the two front church buildings
are“Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”
Members are decked in all white attires,
giving a first time visitor the impression of
a white garment church in the mold of
Cherubim and Seraphim, and Celestial
Church of Christ – but that’s where the
similarity ends as this church differs
greatly with these two in terms of doctrine
and beliefs.
The Saturday Sun team had set out initially
that evening for an interview with the
founder of the church, a man highly
revered and almost worshipped as a deity
by members. Popularly called King
Olutanmole of the Universe, the man said
to be in his 60s is always regal in
appearance.
Investigations by Saturday Sun revealed
that King Olutanmole’s original name is
Christopher Yomi Jacobs and he hails from
Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State.
He started his ministry at Ilupeju area of
Lagos in 1972 from a modest bungalow.
Few years later when his ministry started
growing, he moved to Akowonjo his
present site where he was reported to have
acquired large expanse of land through a
female member of the church who was
related to landowners in Akowonjo.
The old woman now deceased was elevated
to the position of Mother-In-Israel as a
result of her activities in the ministry. Her
house is not far from the church.
Although several attempts made to book an
appointment for interview with King
Olutanmole were futile, Saturday Sun’s
team observations while on visits to the
place to book appointment with
Olutanmole was revealing.
Although it was learnt that members of the
church have been barred from speaking to
the media about anything concerning the
church, some observations that were made
during the visits were confirmed by some
members who pleaded anonymity.
While on one of the trips, it was noticed
that members live together like in a
commune. If you were outside or inside the
church you may not know this, but a close
observation one evening revealed that
after their service, members rather than
trooping outside to take commercial buses
home or drive outside the premises were
seen moving towards the back of the
church.
But here it is a no-go area for non-
members. It is here you have apartments
where members live. Even on a particular
day after a group of children had just
finished playing football and other games
on an open field located very close to the
church, about 100 of them were moving
into the commune. Boldly inscribed at the
back of their Tee-shirts is ‘Olutanmole
kids.’
Around 7 pm, some members of the church
working in other parts of Lagos were also
observed coming in through the main gate
as they headed for the narrow path that led
to the commune.
Curious about this, our team sought to find
out where those trooping towards the back
of the church were going.“They are going
home – they are going to their residences.
Their homes are inside the church but at
the back. Although a visitor or non-
member will just think that it is the only
church we have here,”a member who
pleaded not to be named declared.
Continuing he said: “We have rules for
them. You have several families living
here. Many even want to leave their house
and join others that are living here because
those that are living here enjoy
Olutanmole’s special grace and favour.”
At another section of the church you have
what looks like a mini supermarket but
what is mostly on sale here are spiritual
items like holy water, oil, rosary, books, all
bearing the photos and the inscription,
‘King Olutanmole of the Universe.’
The holy water is put in kegs of various
sizes, and with price range with the lowest
being N250. Speaking on the holy water,
another member who also spoke on
condition of anonymity said there is no
ailment that the water can’t cure. Thinking
we are visitors that had come for spiritual
counseling, he implored us to buy any of
the items, insisting that buying them and
using is like having personal encounter
with Olutanmole himself.
“It is not easy to see Baba Olutanmole.
Some people have been on the waiting list
for more than six months. Some even for
one year, they have not been able to see
Baba. Buy those spiritual items, they will
work wonders for you, they will solve all
your problems at least until you are able to
see Baba Olutanmole,”he pleaded.
On another Sunday when the Saturday Sun
team was asked to try and see whether
Olutanmole would be able to see them, it
was another shocker. Inside the sprawling
well-decorated church that looks like a
cathedral, you see this giant seat facing
you. The seat has all the marks of royalty.
You will think that it is a specially designed
seat for a royal father. That is where King
Olutanmole sits and conducts service
whenever he is around.
In a section, you see testaments written
inside a glass enclosure and they are
referred to as their seven commandments.
This provoked another curiosity, and
further investigations revealed that
members of the church had long time ago
jettisoned the 10 biblical commandments
generally believed by many churches.
Confirming the development, another
member speaking on anonymity said:
“We no longer have anything to do with
the 10 commandments again. We no longer
believe in the Laws of Moses. Some years
ago, around 1989 God revealed certain
things to Baba while he was on the prayer
mountain. When he came back, he told us
that God told him to jettison the old 10
commandments and in its place have our
new set of laws which are seven. If you
even wake a five year old member of our
ministry, he will recite the seven
commandments without stress.”
And these are the seven commandments in
Olutanmole’s church namely: Be Obedient,
Worship God at all Times, Be Faithful in
your Deeds, Be Obedient to God the Father,
Be Obedient to God the Son, Be Obedient to
the Holy Spirit, and Be Obedient to
Olutanmole.
One interesting aspect of the Sunday
Service at Olutanmole’s church is that there
is no limit to the number of hours
members can stay.
On this, another source in the church
explains, “We complete or round off
service as Olutanmole wishes. If Baba
wishes that it should be two hours, so be it
or if he says it is 24 hours, so also be it.”
While not describing Olutanmole as God,
members fervently believe that he is Jesus
Christ personified on earth. In fact, their
major belief which they also professed
during the Sunday worship was that they
pity other Christians that still believe in the
second coming of Jesus Christ. To them,
Jesus Christ is not coming back again.
“Baba, King Olutanmole is Jesus Christ and
he is the one that will take us to heaven to
meet God and Jesus Christ his beloved son.
This is why this ministry is called Kingdom
of Heaven on Earth”.
Taken up on this, he fired back: “Have you
not read anything about Baba? Although
Baba hardly talks to the media, he rarely
does, on such occasions, which are few he
had declared that he is the one that is being
expected, that he is the messiah who will
take us to heaven. Forget about Jesus
coming back again.”
It was also gathered that members that
work in the church’s schools
(Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary
School), hospital, and bookshop earn
salaries but the take home is not what can
be considered as living wages.
A non-member of the church who works in
the hospital but who spoke on condition of
anonymity said:“We are working like
slaves. It is nothing to write home about.
Our own condition is even a bit better
compared to what members experience.
We have a situation whereby father,
mother and the children either work in the
hospital, bookshop, bakery or in one of the
schools but their collective take home pay
is not up to N20,000. What do you call
that? Although, they dare not raise their
voice or complain because they revere or
do I say fear Olutanmole.”
Another issue that is shrouded in mystery
is the number of wives and children
Olutanmole has. A source told Saturday
Sun that King Olutanmole is married to
almost 100 women, and has numerous
children, but another source countered that
he has only one wife who has seven
children for him.
It was gathered that Olutanmole also made
it a rule that anybody getting married to
any of his daughters must quit secular
work and join his ministry. Not only that
he must leave his house and move to the
commune inside the church.
It was further learnt that one of the two
men married to one of his daughters had
to resign from his lucrative job as a banker
to take up residence in the commune.
Always a beehive of activities, the church’s
headquarters at Akowonjo is always
besieged by visitors from different parts of
the country and even from outside.
One of the strict rules in the church is the
one that forbids members from eating
anything containing palm oil every Friday.
Members are also required to pay
obeisance to King Olutanmole like other
earthly royals. While greeting him, you
must not stand but prostrate or roll on the
ground before him, while he also
reportedly have the right to change name
of members to whatever pleases or suits
him.
Members are also required to pay spiritual
visits to the ministry’s prayer mountain
located at a spot between Ogun and Ondo
States at least twice in a year.
“You can’t claim to be our member without
going to Baba’s prayer mountain at least
twice in a year. And you don’t go there to
eat, but to meditate and fast in order to
enjoy numerous spiritual benefits,”another
member declared.
To his neighbours at Akowonjo, King
Olutanmole of the Universe remains an
enigma but to numerous followers, he
remains a hero, a savior and the long-
awaited messiah.
Some of them that also spoke with
Saturday Sun expressed fear about being
seen or quoted on Olutanmole.
“We see a lot of people going inside that
place including big men who drive in big
cars, but honestly what goes on in there, I
don’t know. There is something mysterious
about the man called Olutanmole. His
members hardly venture outside the
commune inside the church, and not only
that they hardly interact with neighbours”, one of the neighbours stated.
Continuing the man said: “Although,
neither Baba Olutanmole nor his followers
have been violent since the church started
several years ago at Akowonjo, but when
you mention that place, some people are
uncomfortable. I don’t know why.”
– Culled from Saturday Sun


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