Three persons, including a 10-year-old boy, identified as Emmanuel Odili, have died in mysterious circumstances on the premises of Christ Mercyland Deliverance Ministries owned by a popular preacher, Prophet Jeremiah Fufeyin, alias Warri TB Joshua, in Effurun, Delta State.
It was learnt that the incident occurred on Saturday on the church premises where many miracle seekers had gathered for prayers during a special programme organized by the church.
Sources told our correspondent that the late boy had earlier been declared missing on Friday by his family members after he had gone to see his mother, who was partaking in the church programme.
He was later seen floating in one of the pits on the church premises.
It was gathered that church officials, who recovered the corpse from the pit, reported the incident at the Ebrumede Police Station in Effurun, after they had deposited the corpse at an undisclosed morgue.
Our correspondent learnt that the church officials, who reported the incident at the station, claimed the deceased was suspected to be mentally ill, which the bereaved family refuted, noting that the victim was at the church to see his mother.
A policeman confirmed that the incident was reported at the station.
He said there were discrepancies in the accounts of the church and the deceased boy’s family concerning the state of his health prior to his sudden death.
Another source, while giving an account of the incident,said two other deaths in the church were reported at the police station.
The source, who identified the victims as Mrs. Beatrice Nwachukwu from Imo state, and Antonio Abba from Kano State, said the deceased reportedly died during a deliverance session on Saturday also at the Effurun branch of the church.
The source said, “While the matter of the boy was still being sorted out, people ran to the police station to report the sudden collapse and death of Nwachukwu. I later heard that some others later came to report the death of the man from Kano, Antonio.
“They said they died at different intervals on Saturday during prayer sessions. The church reportedly said Nwachukwu’s death was due to high blood pressure, but her husband claimed nothing was wrong with his wife before they arrived at the church.”
Although, the General-Overseer of the church, Prophet Fufeyin, could not be reached on the telephone, his spokesman, Godday Emiko, denied knowledge of the incidents when contacted on Tuesday on the telephone.
Emiko said, “Three persons died at where? There is nothing like that. I don’t know where you got this information. I have no such report.”
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Delta State Police Command, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, however, confirmed the incidents when contacted on Tuesday.
“Three people died. One died from drowning, but it is only an autopsy that can establish the cause of the death of the other two,” Aniamaka added. Punch