Pastor absconds with congregants phones, money after crusade

A Gambian pastor, Owen Abraham, has allegedly vanished with 52 phones, money and other valuables of worshippers that attended a crusade in Ibadan.

The cleric organised the crusade at Aponrin in Agbowo area of Ibadan, Oyo State, and claimed to have been led by God to come to the town from Gambia.

Victims of the theft said Abraham lured them into three days fasting and prayer, but absconded on the last day of the crusade, as all efforts to reach him proved abortive.

NAN reports that on the last day of the crusade, the pastor claimed that Holy Spirit directed him to tell those in attendance to submit their phones, money and other valuables.

He was, however, said to have fled with those items.

A widow, Mrs Grace Akintola, said many widows went for the crusade because Abraham made a pledge to distribute a bag of rice and money to each of them, and promised to empower students with scholarship.

She said: “The pastor approached an Igbo lady in our area to assist him to gather widows and students, saying he wanted to help us.

“Someone in my area invited me for the crusade. He wore pastor regalia. He said he will buy a house for one of us and that the house will be fully furnished.

“He promised some people that attended the crusade money. Even politicians cannot give out such amounts he promised.

“On the last day of the crusade, he sold a bottle of water for us at the rate of N4,800. He said perfume is inside the bottle water. Many people paid for the water.”

Another victim, a student of University of Ibadan (UI) added that the evangelist collected their phones “so as to keep it away from them and focus on the prayers. Unknowingly, it was a trick to get our belongings”.

“He said no phone should ring, that was why he collected all the phones. In fact, a lady stood up and wanted to take his photographs but he seized the phone from her.

“On the last day of the crusade, he said he wanted to go and rest at the hotel where he lodged. He later said he wanted to go and eat at UI; we don’t know how he escaped with our belongings.

“As a man of God, we respected him a lot, we didn’t know that he wanted to use the name of God to dupe us.”

Meanwhile, residents of Aponrin declared Pastor Abraham wanted, as posters bearing his name and pictures have been posted in the area and circulated.