By Ikechukwu Odu
The Anambra State Government, has said it would take every necessary action to probe the activities of a suspected miracle peddler in the state identified as ‘Onyeze Jesus’.
This move came on the heels of a viral video where the suspect took a reasonable number of adults to a river at Nkpor, in Idemili Local Government Area of the state where they bathed naked while he sprayed them with currency notes.
The state government through a statement by the Commissioner for Information, C-Don Adinuba, said such action by ‘Onyeze Jesus’ brings the state to global ridicule, adding that the government was equally appalled by the number of his followers claiming to have been swindled by the suspected fake pastor.
The statement also said that destruction of the naira notes by the pastor contravenes the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Act of 2007.
Part of the statement reads “The Anambra State Government is in possession of some videos produced by one person who goes by the name of Onyeze Jesus based in Nkpor, Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, where he not only claims to change the economic status of his adherents by magical means but also throws a lot of Nigeria’s currency notes into the river and compels his adult followers, both male and female, to bathe naked in the river and records them on video which he distributes gleefully to all manner of people through the Internet and other means.
“The State Government is appalled at the conduct of this man. Anambra people are famous throughout the world for their industry, knowledge, ingenuity, perseverance, a high savings rate and an infectious business drive, all combined to enable them to achieve tremendous success in various fields. Their success is not overnight nor through magic.
“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 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 plenty of naira notes into the river regularly as part of the sacrifice to the river goddess and filming it and distributing the film to the whole world, he has brought Anambra State into global ridicule and, worse, gregariously committed a criminal offence. 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 have a bath naked in a river, then film the naked adults and distribute the videos across the globe, Onyeze Jesus is guilty of denying his followers the right to self-dignity and of promoting indecent exposure, which is a crime under the Nigerian law.
“We have received reports from former disciples that Onyeze Jesus has swindled them of their hard-earned resources, that is, all the promises and assurances of turning them into overnight millionaires have proved to be fraudulent. The State Government is looking into the claims. If we find merit in the claims, he will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
“The people and Government of Anambra State are irrevocably committed to fundamental rights of freedom of worship and freedom of association as well as freedom of conscience. However, observing these freedoms should not lead to a situation where heinous crimes will be carried out with impunity, whether in the name of religion or not.