•No, our cleric owes you just N320,000, church says
From Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki
For the 35 years he served in the police, his main job was apprehending criminals, including suspected fraudsters. In those years, Mr. Christopher Igwe, a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, never suspected that he could one day be fleeced of his money by anyone.
But Igwe said that was what happened to him. He told the reporter that he was swindled of his N3 million retirement benefits by a man of God, the General Overseer of the Prophetic Light Ministry in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, 22-year-old Prophet Diepreye Samuel.
Igwe had been told that his life would never remain the same after an encounter with the man of God. And indeed, his life changed the very moment he encountered the cleric. The only thing, according to Igwe, is that his life changed for the worst. He said he was swindled of his entire retirement benefits by the young Bayelsa-based miracle worker.
While in service, Igwe had hoped that he would use his retirement benefits to beef up his car business. He had started selling cars towards the end of his service.
But he told the reporter that his life took a total turn for the worst when he walked inside the prophet’s office and handed over his entire retirement benefits – N3 million – to the prophet who had told him that the cause of the setback in his car business was a result of evil manipulations in the money he used in starting the business.
Before his encounter with the young General Overseer, Igwe had started buying cars from Benin Republic and selling them in Nigeria. When the business was not moving, as he had expected, with many customers owing him, Igwe met a woman that suggested that Prophet Samuel could help him overcome the problems.
How it all began
He told the reporter: “Before and after my retirement from the Nigerian Police Force, as an ASP after putting good 35 years to serve my fatherland, I looked at myself and said, since I am still strong and healthy, it will not be good for me to just retire home. I said I must look for some business to sustain me and my family. So, I began to do some buying and selling; I would travel to Cotonou in Benin Republic and buy cars, which I was selling here in Nigeria, precisely in Yenagoa. That was my last place of assignment. But I discovered that my business was not moving fine. I discovered that almost all the people that bought from me either refused to pay or did not have the means to pay back. That kept on disturbing me until sometime in 2015.
“On that day, I was on my own. I never knew this woman from Adam. But she walked up to me and told me that she had seen what I was going through and that she had been following me up in prayers. The woman told me that the cause of my dwindling business was not ordinary but spiritual. She told me exactly what I was passing through in my business and I marvelled because I never knew her. It was during our discussion that she told me of a popular prophet, who had a solution to all my problems. I was happy and even gave her money.
“After that, she introduced me to Prophet Samuel and the first day I met with him, he prophesied exactly what I was passing through and it all came out to be true. I said yes, that my problem was that my creditors had refused to pay back and it was affecting my business.”
Encounter with the prophet
When Christopher Igwe left his house that fateful day, he never knew that fate had a different thing in stock for him.
He continued: “In February last year, I was able to meet with Prophet Samuel on a Tuesday, because that is the only day he meets with people for counselling. When he saw me, he repeated the same prophecy he made some time ago and I told him that all he had said was correct, that it was exactly what I was facing in my business. He then told me that the money I used in the business was infected by the devil, and that I needed to purify my seed money. I said ok. It was during this discussion that I opened up to him and told him I was expecting a very huge sum of money, as my retirement benefits. He said I should let him know as soon as the money arrived. Then few weeks after the counselling, the money came.
“By March, I went back to him and told him that the money had come. But to my greatest surprise, he asked me to go to the bank and withdraw the money. He said I should bring the money to him so that he would pray over it and cast out the devil that made the money useless for me. I said, ‘Prophet, I have about N2000 here with me, can I bring it so that you pray over it as a point of contact to the one in the bank?’ He said no, that he needed the entire money. I left and went to the bank. While still in the bank, the prophet kept calling me. He called me twice and I told him on each occasion that I was still in the bank.
“My friend who manages my account in the bank became worried that I came to withdraw all my retirement benefits the same day and was carrying everything in a cellophane bag. He insisted that it was not safe for me to be carrying such amount and going along the road. But I told him I transacted a business and my partner wanted the money in cash. He then asked me to get the person’s account number so that he could transfer the money, stressing that there was too much security risk in what I had gone to do. But I stood my ground.
“At that point, he had no option but to yield to my pressure, and I withdrew the N3 million in my account and left. Even my wife posed another challenge when I told her of what I wanted to do. She said I should not try it because I barely knew the man of God. But since she was not in Yenagoa with me, her own resistance was not as strong as that of my banker friend.
“When I withdrew the money, I went straight to Prophet Samuel and gave him the money. He looked at me and told me to go and that he would pray over the money for seven days. He said after seven days, he must have cast out the demons from the money, and it would be ready for business. He promised to call me.
“I left innocently, without any premonition of any evil. I trusted him because he told me exactly what my problem was and appeared more than real to me. When I went home, I waited for seven days. Finally the seven days came, but he did not call me. The eighth day came and yet no call from him. Then, on the ninth day, I went back to him. When I met the prophet and demanded for my money to enable me travel to Benin Republic to buy some goods, believing that he must have cast out the demons from the money, he wasn’t around, but he asked me to wait. When he returned, he asked if I had been paying my tithes, but I told him that I am a Roman Catholic and in my church, we don’t take the payment of tithe so seriously. He said I would have to pay my tithe. I told him I would do that after my trip. I asked him how much tithe I would pay, and he told me N300, 000. I said no problem. I was still anxiously waiting for my money. But he discharged me that day and I went home.
“Before then, there was this shop I had in the market at a very strategic location, which I believed that I would pay for when the money matured. But due to the fact that the money got trapped with the prophet, I lost the shop. I kept going to Prophet Samuel every Tuesday. But he later started avoiding me. He was using his security men and other church workers to stop me from seeing him.
“One day, I went home dejected and wept profusely. I came looking for a solution to my little problem and lost all and the problem got worse. I lost all my benefits after serving Nigeria for good 35 years. While I was still crying, I picked my phone and sent him a text message that one day, he would wake up and see a dead body on his altar. He merely replied, ok. I then sent him a text again that since he insisted on eating my sweat after 35 years, that he should be ready to tell the world how and why a dead body was found on his altar. At that moment, he became apprehensive. One day, I got an alert and discovered that he had sent N2 million to my account. I went back to him and told him, look, my money was N3 million but what I saw here is N2 million. He said he was aware, and that he would give me the balance after my return from Benin Republic. So, I travelled and came back.
“When I returned, I went back to him. It was on a Sunday, and immediately he saw me, he started the same abracadabra and said he saw me in the spirit that I travelled for business and that I bought three cars and that I had sold them. But I interrupted him and said I had not sold anything. After the church service, I went back to him and begged him to give me the balance so that I could feed and pay my children’s school fees since I had used all the N2 million to buy goods and there was nothing left on me. But he was not bothered. At that time, I knew things were getting out of hand.
Efforts to recover his money
“When I discovered he was not even perturbed by my predicaments, I went to the Secretary of the church, who is also a retired policeman and narrated my ordeal with the prophet to him. He was shocked and immediately took me to the father of the prophet. Then both of them took me to the prophet’s office. His father asked him why he held my money and refused to pay and why he insisted that I should pay my tithe to him. At that point, he said he knew he owed me but that he would pay back. But I was angry and asked him if we did any business together. I said all I needed was my N1million and nothing more.
“After a few deliberations with his father and the church scribe, they asked me to excuse them. I went outside and waited but it was getting late and the car I drove to the place was one of the cars I newly imported into the country. Since it was getting dark, I left. The next day, the church secretary called me and gave me N100, 000. He told me the money was made possible because his father insisted and collected the money from the Sunday offertory for the day. I collected the money, thinking they had resolved to pay me in instalment for nine days. To my greatest shock, that was the last time they paid me.
“After two weeks, I went back to them and complained about my predicaments on how to pay my children’s school fees and he gave me N68, 000. When my in-law died, I went to him again and met him already about to enter his car. I blocked him and told him if he did not give me my money today, that all hell would be let loose. When he discovered I was raising my voice, he calmed me down and told me that he had directed the church treasurer to give me my money. I thought it was true and I allowed him. He quickly entered his car and zoomed off.
“After waiting for a while, they came with N80, 000 and I tried to reject it. But since I could not see Prophet Samuel anywhere, I collected it. Then when my landlord came asking for his rent, I went back to them and told them that I needed the money. Then they released N100, 000 again for me. Since then, till date, they have refused to even see me anywhere near the church.
Why I reported him to the church elders
“When all efforts to get my money failed, I was left with no option but to let the cat out of the bag. I decided to write officially to the church elders, complaining that the prophet duped me. I also wrote to other church leaders. Then I wrote on papers and I pasted them on the walls of the church, alerting church members to what their prophet had done to me. But each time I came around, I discovered that whenever I pasted the public notice, they were always on ground to remove it. I then decided to leave the church premises and extend it to the streets. But they still removed all the public notices I kept there.
“At that point, I tried to go to a popular television outfit to tell the world my experience, but I could not afford the type of money they asked me to pay. I then decided to come to The Sun newspaper because I have been reading the newspaper and have always come across such stories. I am also making efforts to reach the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the matter.”
Our prophet did a business with him, church says
But when the reporter contacted the church leaders, they said nothing of such ever transpired. The Prophetic Light Ministry, through the Church Secretary, Mr. Edward Ayoko, said the prophet never swindled Igwe. Mr. Ayoke confirmed that there was a deal between the prophet and Christopher Igwe, but he denied knowledge of the N3 million, as being claimed by Mr. Igwe.
Ayoko said: “I am not aware of any N3 million deal between the man and the prophet. What I’m aware of, as the man himself informed me, is a case of N650, 000, which the man said our prophet owed him. I intervened and we have paid the man a total of N330, 000 cash and the records are with me. What remains of his money to the best of my knowledge is the sum of N320, 000 but he has not come to collect the money since this year. He has called neither the prophet nor myself, concerning his balance. I was embarrassed when his wife sent me a stinker of a text message, telling me that my prophet is a fraudster, and that he defrauded her husband.
“All I want to say is that his balance of N320, 000 has been ready with us. He may come to collect it any time and any day that he chooses.”