Vulcaniser bus-stop is very popular on Akowonjo-Egbeda road in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State. Not far from this bus-stop, on both sides of the road, are some church buildings. Boldly written on the sprawling signboards at the entrance of the two front church buildings are “Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.”
Members are decked in all white attires, giving a first time visitor the impression of a white garment church in the mold of Cherubim and Seraphim, and Celestial Church of Christ – but that’s where the similarity ends as this church differs greatly with these two in terms of doctrine and beliefs…
The Sun team had set out initially that evening for an interview with the founder of the church, a man highly revered and almost worshipped as a deity by members. Popularly called King Olutanmole of the Universe, the man said to be in his 60s is always regal in appearance.
Investigations by The Sun revealed that King Olutanmole’s original name is Christopher Yomi Jacobs and he hails from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State.
He started his ministry at Ilupeju area of Lagos in 1972 from a modest bungalow. Few years later when his ministry started growing, he moved to Akowonjo his present site where he was reported to have acquired large expanse of land through a female member of the church who was related to landowners in Akowonjo.
The old woman now deceased was elevated to the position of Mother-In-Israel as a result of her activities in the ministry. Her house is not far from the church.
Although several attempts made to book an appointment for interview with King Olutanmole were futile, Saturday Sun’s team observations while on visits to the place to book appointment with Olutanmole was revealing.
Although it was learnt that members of the church have been barred from speaking to the media about anything concerning the church, some observations that were made during the visits were confirmed by some members who pleaded anonymity.
While on one of the trips, it was noticed that members live together like in a commune. If you were outside or inside the church you may not know this, but a close observation one evening revealed that after their service, members rather than trooping outside to take commercial buses home or drive outside the premises were seen moving towards the back of the church.
But here it is a no-go area for non-members. It is here you have apartments where members live. Even on a particular day after a group of children had just finished playing football and other games on an open field located very close to the church, about 100 of them were moving into the commune. Boldly inscribed at the back of their Tee-shirts is ‘Olutanmole kids.’
Around 7 pm, some members of the church working in other parts of Lagos were also observed coming in through the main gate as they headed for the narrow path that led to the commune.
Curious about this, our team sought to find out where those trooping towards the back of the church were going. “They are going home – they are going to their residences. Their homes are inside the church but at the back. Although a visitor or non-member will just think that it is the only church we have here,” a member who pleaded not to be named declared.
Continuing he said: “We have rules for them. You have several families living here. Many even want to leave their house and join others that are living here because those that are living here enjoy Olutanmole’s special grace and favour.”
At another section of the church you have what looks like a mini supermarket but what is mostly on sale here are spiritual items like holy water, oil, rosary, books, all bearing the photos and the inscription, ‘King Olutanmole of the Universe.’
The holy water is put in kegs of various sizes, and with price range with the lowest being N250. Speaking on the holy water, another member who also spoke on condition of anonymity said there is no ailment that the water can’t cure. Thinking we are visitors that