Some of the 77 worshippers rescued from the basement of a church in Ondo State have refused to be reunited with their families.
According to report, the worshippers, including children, were rescued from the basement on the premises of The Whole Bible Believers’ Church, also known as Ondo Church, in the Valentino area of Ondo Town.
Some of the parents whose children were in the congregation without their consent had reported the case to the police.
The church was said to be holding a seven-day retreat when the police stormed its premises last Friday. Seventy-seven people comprising 26 children, eight teenagers, and 43 adults were rescued as some of them were reportedly held for about three weeks.
Following their rescue, parents, and relatives of the victims have been visiting the office of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the police in Akure to take away their loved ones.
However, a drama played out on Monday when some of the victims refused to go with their families, insisting that they would remain with the pastor.
But some of the relatives, in an interview with newsmen said their loved ones must have been hypnotised by the pastor of the church.
The Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development in Ondo, Dr Juliana Osadahun, also briefed journalists on the government’s position on the matter.
According to her, the government will meet with the police and relatives of the victims to get a proper briefing on the incident and take appropriate actions.
Earlier, the Police Public Relations Officer in Ondo, Funmilayo Odunlami, had narrated the events that led to the rescue of the worshippers, preliminary investigation, she stated, revealed that one Josiah Asumosa, an assistant pastor in the church had told members that rapture would take place in April but later said it had been shifted to September and told the young members to obey only their ‘parents in the Lord’.
Odunlami added that a family, who was also around during the rescue, said their daughter who is in a tertiary institution dropped out of school due to the strange teachings of the pastor and left home in January 2022 to start living in the church.