Opinion

MFM And Erring Pastors’ Poisonous Tales

By Funmi Branco

AS a church, the Mountain of Fire and Miracles (MFM) organization is known for its emphasis on holy living, anti-demon fervor, and evangelistic preoccupation. With its investments in the spiritual and social wellbeing of its members, there is no doubt that over the years, it has been placed at a vantage position as one of the churches that God is using to change lives.

The church, relying on its divine mandate, has been used to save many people from physical and spiritual challenges. Testimonies abound of people who encountered massive turnarounds through the church, living glorious lives after decades of demonic oppression. That the church has done a lot for many cannot be doubted. Beyond evangelism, the church has been performing its social responsibilities creditably; it has invested massively in youth empowerment, helping to lift up the Nigerian society through sports and steer the youth away from crime.

The church has various sports clubs that have produced notable star players who have gone on to display their mettle on the international stage. First class graduates from the church are given huge sums of money as a form of encouragement, the objective being to channel youthful energies towards profitable endeavours. There have been occasions in the past when these high-flying graduates were given cars, the thinking being that others would be able to take them as role models and strive towards excellence in their academic pursuits.

The MFM General Overseer, Dr. DK Olukoya, is a well-known firebrand preacher who gives no quarter to demons and demonology. He has never hidden his desire to see people worshipping and living in a climate of freedom, totally divested from demonic bondage. He is one of the potent instruments that God has been using to depopulate the kingdom of darkness.

That being the case, he and the church he presides over cannot escape censure, persecution and serial attacks by the cosmic powers whose activities have been hampered or even hobbled by the church. The agenda of the naysayers who love evil and resist the activities of Olukoya and the church is to derail heaven-bound people by attacking the message of sanctification and holiness that the church preaches. That is understandable. How can the kingdom of darkness rest when so many people are being delivered from witchcraft and foundational problems? Satan’s agents cannot cease casting aspersions on the church, but truth is constant irrespective of their devious antics. This is the background from which the recent falsehood purveyed against the church by certain ex-members must be seen.

When two ex-members and pastors recently rose against the church with their salacious stories, many immediately began barraging and de-marketing the church with gusto, giving no thought to the need to hear the other side of the story. But as the leadership of the church reacted to the falsehood, it became clear that the ex-pastors were merely playing to the gallery. It turns out that at no time did the church frame up its ex-members identified as Femi Jimoh and Caleb Oloruntele. Recently, the three individuals who testified against the former members in court over the alleged act narrated how the duo approached them to solicit their assistance on how to hire a gun to rob the “first fruits” offering of the church in 2008. These individuals, namely Akeem Omojomolo, Tajudeen Usein, and Fatai Adebayo, revealed how they played along in the plot, leading to their arrest. By their narrative, it became clear that Pastor Jimoh’s allegation in a recent interview that the church was behind his imprisonment for nine years without trial over alleged armed robbery is nothing but sheer bunkum.

Jimoh had claimed that his ordeal started when he met the chief security officer of the MFM founder at a native doctor’s house, while Caleb claimed that Olukoya wanted him dead because he refused to give false testimony against a pastor identified as Femi Agboola. Strangely, as revealed by the Chief Legal Adviser of the church, Davidson Adejuwon, with documentary evidence, the claims of the duo are based on pure mischief.

Hear Adejuwon: “Is it not curious to push a narrative that Dr Olukoya, the General Overseer, locked them up when all members of their family refused to get two individuals for nine years to stand as their sureties for them to be released? A case of planned armed attack on credible intelligence against the church which could have led to the death of any member cannot be treated and handled internally by the church. We must report such to the law enforcement agency saddled with the responsibilities to investigate and deal with such issues. And that was exactly what we did as a responsible church.”

Whereas the accused claimed that they were detained by Olukoya for years, the evidence says just the opposite. On page 1 of the judgment delivered by the High Court of Lagos State on July 1, 2016, in the case between the people of Lagos State and Oluwafemi Jimoh, Henry Aiyewero and Caleb Oloruntele (LCD/19/2009), the court made the following pronouncement: “The prosecution dragged its feet, closed and reopened its case, and sought for endless adjournments. What makes it more worrisome is that the defendants continued with this pattern of delay when it was their turn to present their defence, in spite of the fact that the Ist and 2nd defendants who had been granted bail did not meet the conditions of bail, so they remained in custody.” There you have it: the accused remained in custody because their families did not rally round them to meet the bail conditions imposed upon them by the court, not because Olukoya ordered them remanded permanently in jail!

In this social media era where people rush to judgment without hearing the facts, many people easily build hell for themselves here on earth. Bloggers possessing no moral background peddle fake news with vigour. Therefore, there is a need to let the world know what actually transpired. Contrary to Pastor Jimoh’s claim that Olukoya and MFM do not forgive, there is ample evidence of the church’s toleration of his improprieties.

He was redeployed several times following complaints by members of his congregation. In a letter dated October 14, 2002, he was directed to proceed from the Warri, Delta State branch of the church to Lagos for reorientation, at the completion of which he could be redeployed in accordance with the discretion of the appropriate authorities. The letter was signed by Pastor Moses Odunsi, the Regional Overseer.

The second letter of redeployment, signed by the zonal pastor, Kayode Oyejide, conveyed his redeployment from Gbagi zone to the Regional Headquarters. It was dated August 19, 2003. The third, dated June 27, 2005, conveyed his redeployment from SWII to the Regional Headquarters in Lagos. It was signed by Pastor Martins Adeneye, SWII Regional Overseer.

It is clear that the church tried to reform Pastor Jimoh to no avail. What is more, he and his family are the architect of his long stint in detention, not the MFM. Not having imposed the bail conditions, the church was in no place to help him meet them. The case was between him and the state.

Branco sent this piece through funmibranco@naver.com

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