The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Operatives in Ondo State Command have arrested one Pastor James Abiodun Adeniyi, for allegedly defrauding his church members.
Adeniyi, who is the founder and officiating pastor of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Freedom City International, located at No 7, Gbogi Street, Akure, was arrested after complaints from members of the public.
The NSCDC Sector Commandant, Mr. Awili Pedro, said the clergy was arrested after complaints from some members of the church who he allegedly duped to the tune of N1.7 million.
Pedro said that the suspect allegedly defrauded an unsuspecting member of his church of N1.7 million by deceiving her to procure passport and visa for her son.
The commander said that Adeniyi also allegedly duped some unsuspecting unemployed youths in his church, by collecting money from them, while promising to help them with employment.
He said the youth, numbering 10, paid between N400,000 and N500,000 into the pastor’s account, but never secured the promised job. Pedro said that trouble started for the suspect when one of the suspects demanded the refund of her money. The pastor failed to pay back, claiming not to be involved in the deal.
Pedro said: “The pastor introduced his accomplice, Olamilekan Omole, to the church, who then connived with the pastor to defraud the unsuspecting victims.
The pastor had been dragged to court by the church youths, who were scammed by Adeniyi, demanding the refund of the money if he could not fulfil his promises.” One of the victims, Mrs. Folashade Olukini, explained that she paid N1.7 million for the procurement of American visa for her son but the pastor and his agent failed to procure the visa.
She said the agent had been on the run and refused to pick his calls for the past two months. Olukini said she had to hold the clergy responsible. She said: “Our pastor guaranteed that the agent was his Personal Assistant.
I started attending his church this year. He introduced his Personal Assistant as a travelling agent who could help to procure American visa. I approached them for my son’s visa. The pastor advised me not to pay until there was directive from God. He called me in February to go on with the arrangement.
I paid for the procurement of the visa by transferring the money into Olamilekan’s account twice, while they assured me the visa would be ready before end of April. “After I had transferred the money to the PA, he stopped picking my call. He disappeared and his phone number stopped going through. I approached the pastor, but said he knew nothing about it.
He promised to get across to the agent but there was no news. I demanded the refund of the money while the pastor claimed to be unaware of what transpired between me and the agent.” Another member of the church, Solomon Dauda, said he had to drag the pastor to court for defrauding him and his family over visa procurement issue.
Adeniyi, however, did not deny the allegations and expressed his readiness to refund the money. According to him, he introduced the victim to Omole, but said the agent had taken to his heels and couldn’t be located.
Adeniyi promised to pay back the money if released from NSCDC custody. He said: “I have agreed to pay back the money. The money was paid into Omole’s account but I promised to pay back the money. They need to give some me a little time.” The NSCDC commandant, however, said the suspect would be handed over to the police.