The Ondo State Police Command has released the children and other members rescued last Friday at The Whole Bible Believers Church in Ondo City.
77 people rescued from an underground Church at Valentino area of Ondo town, in Ondo West Local Government Area of the state, by the men of State Police Command have been released.
The victims compromising 54 adults and 23 Children were allegedly hypnotized, abducted and kept in the underground cell of the church known as Whole Bible Believer Church by the pastor alongside his assistant.
Niger Delta Connect gathered that the assistant pastor, Josiah Peter, claimed rapture was going to take place by September, hence he encouraged the church members to stay behind in the church.
The Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Funmilayo Odunlami disclosed this while featuring on television programme monitored by our correspondent.
Odunlami, however, said the two pastors in charge of the church are still in police custody.
She also disclosed that the church has been sealed by the police to prevent arson by aggrieved members of the public.
According to her, the pastor and his assistant are still being investigated to get to the root of the matter.
Parading the suspects at Command headquarters in Akure on Saturday, Odunlami said the victims were camped in the church with the instruction that none of them must go out and that they should expect the second coming of Jesus Christ at any moment.
She said: “We had a case of suspected abduction. A parent walked up to a police station on Friday evening and she said some of her children left home since last week but does not know where they are. Policemen followed her to the place and they found out that it was a church and attempt to talk to the pastor and invite him over proved abortive and members who were around turned violent and attacking policemen who were there.
“However, at the end of the day, we realized that the church has been keeping the members in an underground room. Basically, what we heard was that the assistant pastor, Josiah claimed rapture was going to take place by April but later said it has been changed till September. So, he encouraged most of them to stay behind.
“He also brainwashed the children to obey only their parent in the Lord. Aside from that, we also realized that some of these children left home to be in the church since January. Some even left school for that purpose”, the PPRO noted.
She added that the suspects will be charged to court upon completion of investigation.
While reacting, the 45-year old Assistant Pastor of the Church, Josiah Peter, said he never hypnotize, brainwash the church members or disconnect any children from their biological parents.
He said: “I preach to them, what the Bible teaches. We have been in the church on the basis of God instruction through our pastor, Anifowose David. He instructed us to camp for seven days. I am not aware of kids who have failed to write examinations or adults who choose not to work again because of rapture”.
One of the victims simply identified as Priscilla, who has refused to continue her education said she decided to seek God before education.
Priscilla who was a 300 level student of Millennium School of Health Technology, Akure said she decided to leave her parents because their preaching was wrong.