When the Lagos State Court of Appeal granted the Senior Shepherd-in-Charge of the Celestial Church of Christ, Genesis Global, Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe, a post-conviction bail last week, on grounds of failing health, quite a number of people, particularly members of his congregation, were very happy with the news. This is because the televangelist’s previous bail applications were all turned down.
Oladele was arraigned on seven counts bordering on obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretences, unlawful conversion of property and forgery, fraudulently collected N14m and £12,000 in various tranches from the complainant between August 30, 2002 and 2005. He was found guilty on two counts of stealing and unlawful conversion of property not delivered. And on November 18 2020, he was sentenced to one-year imprisonment on each count and ordered to pay to the complainant, a certain Mrs Olaide Williams-Oni, the sum of N11m, which he obtained from her illegally.
The journey to Oladele being an ex-convict began around 2007 when as a young man in his twenties who had just begun his church ministry, his path and that of Olaide Williams-Oni crossed. In her thirties then, she was living in the United Kingdom when she heard about his unusual gift of spiritual insight. She came to Nigeria to see him. He prayed for her, she went back to the UK and had testimonies regrding the things she came to see him for. At that time, she was married in the UK but maintained close communication with Oladele whom she soon began to allegedly pressure for love.
Oladele in his own ‘wisdom’ saw her as a life saver who could take him and his family out of penury. They started a relationship that was known to quite a number of people and rented an apartment where they both lived with her sister and Oladele’s. Olaide indeed supported Oladele in many ways. She spent so lavishly that Oladele suggested she put money together to purchase landed properties.
They purchased three landed properties. Trouble however began when Oladele realized she had lied to him about divorcing her husband who she said was habitually cheating on her. He called off the relationship and handed over the documents of the landed properties which all carried her name to her, excluding one which had a little issue, pending when it will be rectified. She then went back to her base in the UK. After a while, she sent some baby pictures to Oladele’s mum and told her the baby’s father is her son. A few years later, Oladele, who had moved on, got married.
The pain of seeing someone whom she had done so much for, move on, was too much for her to bear and she allegedly vowed to take her pound of flesh. She wrote a first petition against him to the special Anti-robbery squad claiming that he had guns in his house. When that didn’t work, she wrote another petition against him detailing money owed her which she said she spent on him and his parents’ home, totaling N2m. He promised to pay her as he couldn’t afford the money at that time. This is in addition to being asked to write an undertaking to pay her N8.5million for the third landed property which had issues. Olaide even denied they were ever lovers. The issue ended up in court and all attempts to get Olaide settle out of court proved abortive and after 11 years, Olaide finally exacted her pound of flesh.