3 Jul 2022

Dozens freed from church awaiting 'Second Coming' in Nigeria

5:35 pm on 3 July 2022

Police in Nigeria have rescued 77 people, including children from a church where they were confined in the south-western state of Ondo.

A parent waits outside the Government Science Secondary school in Kankara, in northwestern Katsina State, Nigeria on December 16, 2020.

A parent waits outside a school in Nigeria on December 16, 2020. Photo: AFP

Some of them are believed to have been there for months.

A police spokesperson said many of them had been told to expect the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in April and had abandoned school to witness the event.

The raid came after a mother complained her children were missing and she thought they were in the church.

Police said they are investigating suspected mass abduction after the raid on the Whole Bible Believers Church in the Valentino area of Ondo Town.

The pastor of the Pentecostal church David Anifowoshe and his deputy have been arrested while the victims have been taken into the care of the authorities.

"Preliminary investigation revealed that one Pastor Josiah Peter Asumosa, an assistant pastor in the church, was the one who told the members that Rapture will take place in April, but later said it has been changed to September 2022 and told the young members to obey only their parents in the Lord," said police press officer Funmilayo Odunlami.

She said in all police rescued 26 children - eight teenagers and 43 adults.

The Second Coming is a Christian belief in the return of Jesus Christ after his Biblical ascension to Heaven.

Rapture is the idea that Christian believers will be taken to Heaven at the Second Coming.