A self-proclaimed architect, Opeyemi Oluwole, has been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly using a building project proposed by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to dupe scores of people.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Adeboye had announced during the church’s December Holy Ghost Service titled ‘Signs and Wonders’ that the church had a challenge of accommodation.
He had said, “The dormitories we have are many but are not enough for the number of people that attend our programmes so we need people to join us in building extra 2,000 dormitories in order to reduce the number of people sleeping on bare floor in the church auditorium.
“The dormitories, we are hoping, would be ready before the next congress and anyone willing to help should get across to us.”
According to police authorities, Oluwole, under the pretext of building the dormitories for the church, tricked many people into paying money into his bank account.
Our correspondent learnt that the monies collected from victims ranged from N250, 000 to N2.5m.
It was learnt that the suspect however ran out of luck after he approached a member of one of the parishes of RCCG.
It was learnt that the member immediately reported the matter to the Ketu Police Division.
The member, who craved anonymity, said the suspect had told his victims that he had been given the contract by the RCCG to build the dormitories.
He said, “Oluwole approached me, saying he had been given the mandate to build the dormitories and that some companies had bid for the contract. He said some of the companies that won were not financially capable of constructing the dormitories so he was sub-contracting it.
“He said we would handle the contracts but would have to use the names of the companies that originally won the bid and we would get our money afterwards. He gave us his bank account number and told us to pay N250, 000 as the initial fee for registration.
“However, I contacted the Project department of the RCCG and they said they did not give Oluwole any contract. They even checked past records and his name did not appear in the files.”
When the police wrote the RCCG headquarters, the church denied knowing the suspect.
In a letter addressed to the police, the church’s legal department stated that it was ready to pursue the case to a logical conclusion.
The church also stated that it was not possible for building project to be executed without the knowledge of the project department.
The suspect however denied the allegation, insisting that he had indeed been given the contract by Pastor Adeboye to construct the dormitories.
He said, “Baba (Adeboye) told me to go ahead with the dormitories. The agreement was verbal and there is no written document. Some people gave me money for the drawings of the buildings. Others loaned me money.”
Oluwole alleged that he and Adeboye had entered into a secret arrangement on the building project without the knowledge of the church authorities.
A police source, who craved anonymity, said the suspect was arrested a few weeks ago but was later granted bail.
The suspect however absconded soon after, making it difficult for the police to carry out investigations.
The police were however able to re-arrest him last Friday.
Our police source said, “After granting Oluwole bail, the best thing for him to have done was to go to the church and explain his predicament. We even offered to take him to the church’s Chief Security Officer, who would have taken him to see Adeboye.
“However, after some weeks, we did not hear from him again. He even moved out of his apartment.”
When asked why he jumped bail, Oluwole said, “My house was dilapidated and I had to leave the place so that it would not collapse on me.”When contacted on the telephone, the spokesperson for the state police command, Ngozi Braide, said the police had taken the matter to court.