The police at the Maroko Division, Lekki, Eti Osa, Lagos, southwest Nigeria, have arrested a suspected fake pastor, Prince Kayode Ogbeniola, 43, for allegedly stealing a Samsung handset inside the Redeemed Christian Church of God, aka City of David, situated on Muri Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He was arraigned before a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court on a one count charge of stealing.
The police alleged that the accused, a resident of Ajah, Lagos, from Ondo State, was arrested following a complaint by the Chief Security Officer attached to the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
The accused entered their church as a worshipper and stole a handset belonging to a member of the church, Vivian Oji and escaped on 13 December, 2012.
But nemesis caught up with him when he came back the following Sunday to steal another one, and the victim sighted him within the church premises making calls with her phone.
She confronted the accused to give her the phone in his possession because it belonged to her.
Angered, the accused was said to have attempted to beat up the victim for daring to ask him about the handset.
The handset was discovered to belong to the victim and the accused, who claimed to be a mobile evangelist who preach and worship in any church of his choice, was arrested and handed over to the police.
During interrogation, the accused allegedly confessed to the crime. In his statement to the police, he allegedly begged the police for forgiveness, saying poverty, frustration coupled with his wife who recently divorced him pushed him to commit the act.
"When I stole the handset, the owner sent text messages to me twice to return the handset, but the devil told me to remove the sim card and replace it with my own, and I started using the handset.
But I did not know how I went back to the same church the following during the Sunday service before I was caught.
I have been a mobile evangelist who preach to people to repent from their sins for the past five years, but I am surprised that I turned out to be the sinner. I regret my action," he allegedly told the police.
After investigation by Coporal Sekinat Akinbola, he was charged to court for stealing.
The offence, the prosecutor, Sergeant Ighodalo Daniel said, contravenes section 285 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State, 2011.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge, and magistrate, Mrs. O.M. Ajayi admitted him on bail in the sum of N40,000 with one surety.
She adjourned the mater till 15 April, 2013 for mention. The defendant was moved to Ikoyi Prison pending when he would fulfil his bail condition.