The arrest of Self professed Pastor Abraham Roland, an Edo indigene who runs a cult-like fellowship that started as a tutorial centre for admission seekers and students, has turned up some startling revelations.
The revelations were made by his right hand man, David Ogbonnaya, who worked closely with him for over 10 years.
Unmarried Roland ran his circle of followers made up of only young men and women, allegedly brainwashing them and cutting them off from their families and friends and turning them into both sex and domestic slaves.
Ogbonnaya, his right hand person, who once got an admission to the University of Lagos, dropped out after being told by Roland that with Holy Spirit, he did not need to go to school.
He said he served his boss faithfully to the point where he said he would have committed murder without thinking twice while he was under Roland’s control.
Ogbonnaya said, “I gained admission along with three other members – Tosin and Busayo (now in rehab), and one Ifemosun Tosin – at the University of Lagos the same year. He started by asking us to bring our school fees to him. He later asked us to drop out.
“He always preached against western education. I think he knows that books would make us wise. He told us that once we had the Holy Spirit, we did not need education.
“He started a programme with a slogan ‘Child of God, what are you doing in human academic institution.’ The aim was to discourage as many people as possible from being educated.
“He told us to stay away from reading books and never to listen to any other pastor. He said Pastor Sam Adeyemi of Daystar, Bishop David Oyedepo and Pastor Enoch Adeboye were his ‘children’ because God had given him the task of taking over the world.”
it was learnt that he established his tutorial centre called ‘Sound Mind for admission seekers’ in 2003 and later started ‘Sound Mind Students’ Fellowship, which drew membership among university undergraduates in the neighbourhood.
According to Ogbonnaya, Roland decided to end the tutorial section to focus on just the fellowship.
He said, “I was this young man who just wanted help to get education and ended up dropping out and becoming the leader of his fellowship.
“One of the other leaders of the fellowship is a lady called Abi. She is now in rehabilitation after being liberated. She is recovering very fast.
“The man (Roland) slept with all the ladies at the centre. There was a time he took me along when a girl asked him the reason why he was sleeping with all the other girls in the camp.
“He took me along because he trusted me so much. He knew I would never believe what the girl was saying. The idea was to meet the girl and silence her before she exposed the matter.”
Ogbonnaya said while the lady in question challenged Roland for sleeping with the other female members of the group, his loyalty clouded his sense of reasoning.
He said that he was not concerned about knowing the truth about his boss.
Ogbonnaya said, “After the incident, he called me and said he needed to explain some things about what I witnessed.
“He told me that the girl was challenging him out of jealousy. He said he was sleeping with her and that it was the lady who requested for it.
“He claimed that she once told him that she was horny and that because he did not want her to go out and sin, he decided to help her by ‘relieving’ her with sex.”
Ogbonnaya said he later went to meet the young woman to challenge her about her action towards his boss.
He said the revelation the girl made shocked him.
Ogbonnaya revealed that Roland had been having anal sex with the young ladies in the camp.
He said, “The lady told me that her female counterparts in the group were complaining that the anal sex he practised was affecting their anuses. They were having sores all the time.
“She caught them discussing about the pain in their anuses. That was why she decided to confront him. He forced some of the girls to kiss him and perform oral sex on him. But it got to a point that many of the ladies did it willingly. Only few had to be forced to do it.”
He explained that despite the consistent anal sex, the young ladies could not run away because he allegedly enslaved them mentally.
According to Ogbonnaya, despite the revelation from Abi, he was still loyal to Roland to the point that if he had instructed him to kill the young lady in order to silence her, he would have done it without question.
“There were times he asked me to beat people up or slap them. He once asked me to slap some ladies very hard because they were depressed over the way he was having sex with them all the time.
“He was trying to bring them out of their depression and said the slap was the best way. That is why he took me along to anywhere he went to.”
Ogbonnaya said every member of the group was taught to interprete everything they see spiritually even when the truth was staring them in the face.
“He told us not to ever try to process things in our head but to view everything spiritually. He also told each person to watch the other to prevent us from ganging up against him.
Ogbonnaya explained that Roland had mastered the art of brainwashing people.
According to him, on a daily basis, they prayed for at least six hours, speaking in tongues alone.
“He told us that we should only pray in tongues and think of what we want in our minds.
“By the time the prayer was over, we would be so convinced of whatever he told us. We called ourselves ‘rebels’.
“If he had handed us weapons to go and kill, we would have done so without question. He said whatever we did in the name of Jesus was right.
Ogbonnaya explained that he would deliver a long mind-bending sermon that would twist their thinking.
He said, “He could talk about how Ruth followed Naomi despite the fact that the latter had nothing for about six hours. Then, he would give us a break of one hour to meditate on what he said. After that, he would say, ‘You people can leave me alone. I am not forcing you to follow me. That reinforced our loyalty to him the more.
“He brainwashed us by first telling us things that we could easily believe, he then moved to the stage of telling us that we needed to go deeper in our faith. He said going deep in faith comes with responsibilities and to join him in ruling the world like God had promised him, we must be willing to make sacrifices.
“He said he was the one who would present the world to God and that anybody who did not believe in him would perish.”
Roland’s followers became so loyal to him to the point of not just servicing his sexual appetite but also begging for alms on the street to feed him, it was learnt.
His followers, both male and female would dress up ‘corporately’ and beg for money at the Adedoyin Street, Kosofe, Lagos, where he was based before relocating due to inability to pay rent.
Ogbonnaya said, “On Adedoyin Street in Kosofe, we are very popular as Roland’s followers who would wear suit and beg people around there for money.
“If you go to the Redeemed Camp at Mowe and ask at Shiloh Apartment, they would tell you how we lodged there and ran away with their money. If you go to Tantalizers at the Redeemed camp too, they would tell you how we went there to beg for food. We once ate there and had to submit our phones as collateral when we could not pay.
“He collected all the money we had. He would say he was giving us an opportunity to use our faith. He said if we had money, we would not be able to use our faith.”
According to Ogbonnaya, Roland frequently billed his followers various sums of money like N2,000, N3,000.
According to him, he might tell them to go get him pepper soup and yoghurt by any means and they would be forced to go into the street to beg for money.
He said, “Sometimes, he could say there was need to rent a hall and he would order us to go and find the money anyway we could. He turned us to slaves and beggars.
“Sometimes, he would send a message to all of us. It would read: ‘6am, 25c, N3,000’. That was an instruction for each of us to get N3,000 each to him by 6am the following day. He was living at Block 25c at the Redeemed Camp along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway at the time because he could not afford a proper apartment.
“We would all start looking for N3,000 each. We would call our parents, families and friends and lie to them just to be able to get the money.
“Sometimes when we got the amount demanded, we would have nothing left for transport. We would have to board public transport and beg the conductor to give us free rides or passengers to pay for us.
“At other times, we trekked long distances just to get the money to him. If you did not get the money, he would make you feel so bad that you would feel like committing suicide.
“He told us whatever we did in the name of Jesus was right and he always had copious quotes from the scripture to back himself up.”
Ogbonnaya also revealed that Roland told each of his members to stop counting their ages.
He added that he had so brainwashed his female followers that they all believed they were going to marry him.
He also told our correspondent that each of the man’s followers took various forms of oaths.
He recounted a strange incident when Roland demanded the “lights” of each male member.
Ogbonnaya said, “We did this by making a gesture of taking something from our heart and putting it in a cup. Each of us who were men repeated the action. He then drank from the cup.”
Finally, late in 2016, Ogbonnaya broke free from a decade of subservience to Roland.
According to him, he started having doubts when he realised that he was suffering deeply.
According to him, he hardly got food to eat while he could do anything to give money to his boss.
He said he just ran away from where Roland housed them in a remote part of Mowe.
But he said few weeks after he left, he went back to Roland crying and begging for the pastor to take him back.
“I was still under his influence. It was after that that I realised I was in serious bondage and I had to find a way to report to the security agencies what we were going through,” Ogbonnaya said.
Some of the young women liberated from Roland’s camp are still in rehabilitation.
The Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Lagos State Command, Mr. Tajudeen Balogun whose men raided the camp, said Roland had been handed over to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related offences.
Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr. Joseph Famakin, said investigation was still ongoing on the extent of Roland’s crime.