Onyeze Jesus, a controversial Anambra-based pastor who filmed his followers naked in money rituals, has been arrested over allegations of fraud.
The self-styled pastor was invited for questioning on Wednesday, state police spokesperson Haruna Mohammed said.
Police commissioner Abang John said Onyeze is currently detained in their custody and will be there for the next 24 hours.
“Why do you think he was arrested? You’re aware that the Nigerian police don’t take people for more than 24 hours. So, if he is in custody, then it’s within 24 hours. He was picked up yesterday,” the commissioner told TheCable.
The state government had earlier begun an investigation into the fraud allegations levelled against him by some of his ex-followers.
“Onyeze Jesus promotes superstition and strife in society. By telling his gullible and brainwashed followers that their misfortune is caused by family members, relatives, friends, and business associates,” it had stated.
“Through magical powers, he is fomenting serious troubles and instigating eternal enmity in various places and businesses. Some of these troubles can lead to physical fights, bodily injuries, and even deaths.
“By throwing naira notes into the river as part of his sacrifice to the river goddess, filming it, and distributing the film to the whole world, he has brought Anambra state into global ridicule and committed a criminal offense.
“Burning or destroying the naira through any means is an offence criminalized by the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007, and the offender is liable to imprisonment.
“By forcing his disciples to bathe naked in a river, then film the naked adults and distributing the videos across the globe, Onyeze Jesus is guilty of denying his followers the right to self-dignity and of promoting indecent exposure.”
Onyeze’s arrest comes after the controversial pastor was spotted in a now-viral clip spraying his ritual clients with a wad of N50 notes while filming them bathing naked in a local stream.