By Oki Samson
It is no longer news that Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Genesis Global is in police custody due to some personal issues. Well, that is a story for another day. The current news is the massive impact that the man is making even as he battles the issues around his incarceration.
May you not experience litigation issues in Nigeria, that is when you will value freedom. The number of persons in detention without due court procedure is countless. This is what dawned on Prophet Ogundipe with his naked eye even as he undergoes his incarceration. However, like Jesus on the Cross of Calvary suffering shame and pity with armed robbers but still demonstrating mercy, Prophet Israel has despised his own shame to show mercy to many souls in detention at the Correctional Facility in Kirikiri, Apapa. Using spiritual means, he is winning souls for Christ’s Kingdom. Physically, he is giving out food and toiletries to the inmates. Legally, he is seeking ways to deliver many souls out of unlawful confinement. This is the rationale for planning to float a Prisons Foundation; Israel Oladele Prison Foundation that will be in partnership with Onyekachi Ubani Foundation.
Addressing a press conference alongside representatives of the Israel Oladele Prisons Foundation, human rights lawyer, Barr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani shared copiously about the systemic failure of Nigeria’s legal system, the humane feeling behind the new partnership, and the modus operandi. ‘What attracted me to the gentleman Prophet is the stories I read about his spiritual and human efforts towards those who are in correctional custody in our Correctional Facility at Kirikiri, Apapa. The story out there is his efforts in winning more souls for Christ, donations of food and toiletries to the inmates which to us is the true exhibit of traits of true Christianity which is represented by love for God and humanity’, Barr. Ubani commenced.
‘Of utmost excitement to me personally and our law firm is the issue of facilitating the release of some of the inmates that have been in detention awaiting trials for a good number of years. I am sure you’re aware of the story of one Azeez Ibrahim who regained his freedom recently at the instance of the prophet. The man narrated how he wrongly served 10 years and 6 months at Kirikiri Correctional Centre for wrong identification. He regained freedom as a result of the intervention of the man of God. The number we gathered who have regained freedom so far through the effort of the prophet and his church has risen to about 82 inmates.’
‘We got interested in knowing this great apostle of God and we are interested in partnering with him to secure the lives of those that are being wasted in prison by our imperfect administration of criminal justice system.’
On the quagmire of the Prophet of CCC Genesis Global, the former 2nd Vice President of Nigerian Bar Association, Barr. Ubani reflected: ‘However we got more than we bargained for. He told us the story of his sojourn to the correctional Centre at Apapa. We demanded a copy of his judgment that pronounced his conviction and sentence. Sad at some of the events that led to his conviction. We are glad that the conviction is being challenged seriously by a very senior and competent lawyer based in Lagos. It is our conviction that justice shall be served at the Appellate jurisdiction. There are clearly yawning gaps in the entire story leading to his trial and conviction. We are worried that the exonerating report of the Alagbon Police Authority that was the last to investigate the whole incidence was never taken into consideration at the trial court. As said earlier, these and many more shall be strengthened in due course. We shall refrain from going into the facts of the case as the matter is presently subjudice. We promise to examine the legality of the trial and conviction whenever the appellate options are exhausted. Concerning his conviction and sentence, Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe strongly disagrees and has appealed against his conviction-challenging the conclusion and position of the trial Court, and he is bewildered on how a matter which was earlier reported to the Police for threat to life, metamorphosed all of a sudden into a case of stealing and obtaining money by false pretenses leading to his conviction and sentencing, a fundamental issue he has raised in his appeal. However, out of respect for the judicial process, and due to the fact that, his appeal is still pending before the honorable Court of Appeal, we will wait for now, leave details of his Ordeal, Trial and Conviction until a future time when his appeal must have been determined whether in his favor or otherwise.’
‘Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe maintained his innocence as argued by his Counsels during trials at the lower Court, and continues to maintain his innocence even as he serves out the time in a federal correction facility, but as a human being , Prophet Ogundipe upon his conviction and sentencing, felt he was a victim of a miscarriage of justice, felt betrayed and dejected but in a divine twist, he will later come to realize that, just as many great Prophets and famous world leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Olusegun Obasanjo, Rev. Martin Luther King etc. who were once jailed and sentenced for various offences in the past, he, Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe the Shepherd of CCC Genesis Global is not exempted from prosecution and who knows whether he has been sent to prison on a divine account and for a divine purpose?
Which is why we applaud his zeal in getting those who are wrongly incarcerated justice through getting them out of the correctional centre using the judicial process. Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe who is presently serving time in a federal correctional facility is spending much of his time interceding with various inmates, and teaching them the word of God, listening to their various stories and the ordeals that landed them in a federal correction facility and counseling them in preparation to life outside prison. It is becoming clearer to the Prophet the salient reason the Almighty God ordained his journey to the correctional facility.’
‘Upon being emotionally touched by the stories and the various ordeals of these inmates, the Prophet according to him started to care for the families of these inmates, by paying for their children’s school fees, providing them with feeding allowances, paying legal fees for those awaiting trials etc. an act of philanthropy that Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe was famously known for before his unfortunate incarceration and this led him to reach out through his aides and representatives to the law firm of Ubani and Co. expressing his desire to team up with our law firm in order to give comprehensive legal representations to various inmates whose stories and ordeals are quite compelling both at the trial and at the Appellant Courts.’
‘In turn, the law firm of Ubani and Co. has expressed its willingness to partner with Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe upon conclusion of terms and we are throwing these open to any meaningful Nigerians, individuals, or organizations regarding this noble cause or humanitarian activity of helping in getting justice to those who are languishing in various correctional centres across the country to come on board with us. We must endeavour to rescue our fellow brothers and sisters that are victims of our faulty system. Please note that this is in furtherance to effort of Israel Oladele Ogundipe’s intention of establishing his Prison Foundation, which is to be called Israel Oladele Prison Foundation which in part will be working in collaboration with Onyekachi Ubani’s Foundation to assist the less privileged who are denied justice through our skewed administration of criminal justice system.’
‘These two foundations with their mission and core value will focus on addressing social vices, counselling, youth empowerment and rendering of legal representation to indigents in need of legal services, especially those at the Correctional Centres across the Country awaiting trials that are never held.
Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe continues to reiterate his undying commitment to the word of God and believes that “tears may endure through a long night, but Joy comes in the morning”. We shall celebrate his freedom soon believing that he will learn all the lessons that God wants to pass to him through this temporary incarceration, which we call “restriction of physical movement but not spiritual empowerment’