Police in Ogun State arrested Celestial Church Pastor `Shepherd’’ in charge of a Celestial Church Christ, Peter Omope, on Saturday for illegal possession of firearms and attempted murder.
Police spokesman, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, stated that Omope shepherds a Celestial Church Pastor branch of the church at Olambe Junction in Akute area of Ogun State.
Oyeyemi explained that Omope was arrested following a distress call received from one Deji Olaketan, at Ajuwon Police Divisional Headquarters.
Olaketan told the police that he drove his boss to the airport in company of an 18-year-old lady, another domestic staff and returned the vehicle to the residence of a relation of the boss as instructed.
“On their way home, they were informed that traditional religion worshippers were conducting a street sacrifice in the area forbidden for females to see.
“They decided to take refuge in a Celestial church where a vigil was on-going so as to join in the proceedings as it was already late in the night.
“While they were at the entrance of the church, the suspect who happened to be the Shepherd-in-Charge came out with a pump action rifle and before they could utter any explanation, he shot the lady in the leg.
“Upon the distress call, the police moved to the scene where the suspect Celestial Church Pastor was promptly arrested,’’ DSP Oyeyemi stated.
He added that the victim was taken to Ifako-Ijaye General Hospital, from where she was referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and finally to the Orthopaedics Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos.
The police also recovered the rifle and five live cartridges from the suspect, Celestial Church Pastor he stated.
Omope has been taken to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation.
The Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) is a church founded in Africa by Samuel Oshoffa on 29 September 1947 in Porto-Novo, Benin. It is located in most countries worldwide including the United States and various countries in Africa.
Oshoffa was a former carpenter born in Dahomey (now Benin) in 1909. Raised as a Methodist, he had a divine revelation while lost in a forest on 23 May 1947 during a solar eclipse. (The nearest recorded solar eclipse visible in Africa occurred on May 20, not May 27, of that year.)
He felt called to pray, to heal the sick, and to raise the dead. He founded his church in September 1947. Having appointed himself Prophet, Reverend, Pastor, and Founder, he occupied the highest office of his movement. The hegemony he exercised on doctrine and discipline issues made succession difficult when he died in 1985 in Lagos, Nigeria.
The CCC was recognized and authorized by the Republic of Dahomey in 1965. From 1976, the church launched an evangelistic campaign in the that country, a former colony of French West Africa, which had beccome independent in 1960.
From the late 1990s, the CCC church has utitlized Internet as a means of evangelization, thus allowing the many existing branches of the church within the African diaspora in such nations as the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, France and the United States, to maintain contact with each other and with Nigeria, the nation in which the CCC is currently most popular.
The movement has continued to grow since Oshoffa’s death, but has also suffered setbacks, the most immediate being severe difficulties related to the matter of succession. Oshoffa was succeeded by Alexander Abiodun Adebayo Bada, who was head of the church until his death on 8 September 2000. Bada was briefly followed as leader by Philip Hunsu Ajose, who died in March 2001. A dispute followed over the succession to Ajose.
Some declared Gilbert Oluwatosin Jesse as the new leader, while the majority recognised the Reverend Emmanuel Oshoffa, son of Samuel Oshoffa. Following Jesse’s death, his faction declared that Superior Evangelist Paul Suru Maforikan was the new spiritual leader of the church.
Contrary to the procedure of succession in Nigeria, Porto-Novo, the supreme headquarters, successfully chose Benoit Agbaossi (1931–2010) to be the head of the church, who in his turn appointed Benoit Adeogun as the next Rev. Pastor shortly before his death in 2010.