Busted Gang specialized in staging fake miracles for churches caught in Lagos

A Ghanaian pastor who was invited as a guest minister at the crusade decided to push his ministry in Nigeria by organising a stage-managed miracle with the help of the arrested suspects

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About four members of an alleged syndicate specialized in stage-managing miracles in churches have been arrested by the police after one of their deals went awry.

The gang members - two men and two women, identified themselves as Joshua Ifeanyi, Kazeem Akinwale , Mary Arikawe and Kemi Adeniyi were arrested after staging a fake miracle in one of  the pentecostal churches in Ogba area of Lagos (name withheld) during the church's week long crusade in December.

According to reports, a Ghanaian pastor who was invited as a guest minister at the crusade decided to push his ministry in Nigeria by organising a stage-managed miracle with the help of the arrested suspects, promising to pay them the sum of N250,000.

It as learnt that the Ghanaian pastor ministered for most part of the pro­grammes during which a number of miracles was said to have taken place.

The pastor, however, returned to Ghana before the last day of the crusade, while the host pastor carried on with the church programme. At the end of the programme, a man and woman reportedly approached the host pastor with a request to meet the founder of the church whom they assumed was the pastor from Ghana.

“They were shocked to discover that the Ghanaian pastor was only invited to minister during the programme.”

"After they had recovered from the shock, they informed the host pastor that the Ghanaian pastor hired them to stage-manage miracles that took place during the programme and promised to pay them the sum of N250,000 which he never did before he left. They later demanded that the host pastor pay them the said amount since their acts were staged in the church, a demand the pastor declined, insisting he knew nothing about it, ” an anonymous source disclosed to Daily Sun.

It was further learnt that the host pastor called the the Ghanaian pastor who allegedly denied knowing or contracting the gang.

Daily Sun reports : "Confused by the turn of event, the host pastor called to inform one of his friends, a pastor who advised him to report the matter to the po­lice since the people insisted they would not leave until they were paid for the services they rendered. So he pretended to play along with them and succeeded in getting them arrested along with two other suspects.

Among those arrested are two men who gave their names as Joshua Ifeanyi and Kazeem Akinwale and two women who identified themselves as Mary Arikawe and Kemi Adeniyi. The suspects who are currently being held at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID Panti, Yaba, Sunday Sun was reliably informed are members of a syndicate which operates across the country. “They have confessed to be members of a syndicate which operates across the country. But those arrested so far are members of a seven-mem­ber gang which operational base is the South-west zone. There are other groups which operate in other zones in the country. The South-west group is headed by an Ibadan-based woman simply identified as Iya Ibo,”

Although the Ghanaian pastor denied knowing the group, his denial appears not to hold water as it was gathered that the host pastor was able to identify two of the suspects to include those who claimed to have received miracles under the ministration of the Ghanaian pastor. “One of the two men arrested was said to have been recognized by the host pastor as the one who came to the crusade with POP around his neck, which the Ghanaian pastor pulled off and got healed after he was prayed for. And again one of the women was identified as the one whom the pastor brought out from the congregation and revealed so many things about her which she also affirmed as true during the programme. One of the things he said about the woman is that her husband deserted her over three years ago, a claim the woman said was true. He later prophesied that her husband would return soon.”

The apprehended suspects allegedly confessed to the police their mode of operation. They revealed that apart from stage-managing miracles, they would also try to get information from church members, their problems and give it to the pastors who would later reveal them during service, making everyone believe they received visions from God.

It was gathered from Daily Sun, that  the suspects had listed up to 10 men of God involved the shady business, and according to the police the matter is still under investigation. “Cases such as this one require extreme caution. That is why we are being meticulous about those pastors that have been mentioned so far but I can assure you that thorough investigation will be done on the case,” the police source said.

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