Contrary to the widespread rumour that Bishop David Oyedepo has been barred from entering the United Kingdom over allegations of fraud rocking his ministry abroad, the fiery clergy has denied it.
The amiable bishop through one of his spokespersons who refused to divulged his identity on Friday, August 15, 2014, claimed such reports are unfounded and baseless without any iota of truth in it.
“It’s nothing but blatant lie and falsehood.” Also, on Sunday, August 17, 2014, a spokesperson for the airliners, Mrs. Salma said there was no such information as Airline Alert against Bishop David Oyedepo.
Another source who spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly under the condition of anonymity equally said it was the handiwork of mischievous people.” Did you notice the false document was not even signed?”
Nigerian pastor, preacher and founder of Faith Ministries otherwise known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo was reportedly barred from entering the United Kingdom by the British Home Office following the commencement of investigations into his affairs by the UK Charities Commission.
Bishop Oyedepo, popularly known as Papa by his followers, has been under investigation by the Charities Commission since 2012. Investigators are looking into the activities of his Living Faith Church, also known as Winners Chapel, and the way it gets money from parishioners.
Preliminary enquiries have accused the UK branch of Winners Chapel, run by Bishop Oyedepo’s son, of cynically exploiting supporters. As a result of the investigation, the Home Office has instructed the British High Commission in Abuja to issue what is known as an Airline Alert, which bars any carrier from bringing him into the UK.
It was reported that a source at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, said that the barring of Bishop Oyedepo, was communicated to the airlines on Saturday, 9 August, 2014. According to the contents of the Airline Alert that has the pastor’s passport photograph glued on it, any airline that flouts the ban and transports Bishop Oyedepo to the UK, is liable to a fine of £2,000.
David O. Oyedepo is reputed to be the richest pastor in Nigeria. He is the senior pastor of Faith Tabernacle, a 50,000 seat church auditorium, reported to be the largest church auditorium in the world by the Guinness Book of Records.
Bishop Oyedepo holds a UK C visa that allows him entry into the country for 10 years, so ordinarily would not have any problem travelling at will. He also owns four private jets, so it is not yet clear what will happen if he decides to travel in using his own transport.
Authorities in the UK are concerned about the manner in which Bishop Oyedepo’s church raises money from unsuspecting, naive and gullible members of the public. According to preliminary findings, Bishop Oyedepo’s church ‘received £16.7m (N4.5 billion) in donations from followers who were told that God would give them riches in return.
Charity Commission officials also found out that his followers are ferried in double-decker shuttle buses to the church, handed slips inviting them to make debit card payments. They are even told obeying the ministry’s teachings will make them immune from illness and many of them oblige.