By Emmanuel Afonne
No less than eight repentant Niger Delta activists and kidnappers being rehabilitated in the Omega Power Ministries (OPM) rehabilitation center are now pastors in the church, said apostle Chibuzor Chinyere, general overseer.
Chinyere, who is the founder of the church, revealed this in a phone interview with the Nigeria News Agency (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.
The General Overseer said that the repentant activists / kidnappers have turned a new leaf after a divine meeting through evangelism organized for some of them in their different camps.
“I preached to them and many of them listened to the call to salvation and gave their lives to Jesus Christ.
“Before embarking on this move, I bought domains to relocate them.
“At first when I preached to them, because I couldn’t move them out of their house, it was easy for them to go back to their old ways.
“So I decided the best way to approach them was to change their environment and that became the first step in their healing process,” he said.
He said he took them to the field, had them baptized, and began teaching them the words of God to completely free themselves from crime.
“These kidnappers have wives and children, so what we did was put their children in the free school run by the church and at the same time start businesses for their wives.
“We started teaching them different skills and by the grace of God, after they learned the skills, some said they wanted to be pastors.
“And right now we have eight of them who are full-time pastors in OPM branches.
“Others have different skills like carpentry, pipeline handling, scaffolding, mechanics, etc.,” Chinyere said.
According to him, around 10,000 young people have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society as part of the OPM rehabilitation program for young people, in particular for repentant activists and sex workers.
The OPM overseer general said some of the repentant activists had been paid employment in various oil companies across the country, while others had found jobs abroad.
“The Nigerian police are cooperating with us; some of these young people have been in crime for many years and they were not arrested, but they came with their guns to surrender.
“The police decided not to prosecute them since they surrendered voluntarily until they started committing a crime again; there is someone who submitted three AK-47 rifles.
“We took them to the police headquarters in Rivers, located on the road to Moscow, and they took their biometric data, their photos and their fingerprints as well as the register of the weapons submitted and the crimes they committed. .
“With that, the police have all their data in case they go back to crime. However, I know they will not return to crime, ”he added.
The cleric also said the program had a 95% success because the repentant activists and the kidnappers had not returned to crime since their surrender.
Chinyere added that efforts are underway to ensure that children of the less privileged, who were not in school, get the education they want through the church’s 15 free schools located in the states. from Rivers, Bayelsa, Abia, Akwa Ibom and Lagos.
“My goal is to have these rehabilitation centers in all the states of the federation to help people who walk around, because school is free,” he said.
Mr. Justine Obodo, one of the repentant activists from the Emohua local government area, who spoke on behalf of the others, told NAN that they have been in the rehabilitation camp since 2019.
“I am from Egbeda, in the local government area of Emohua. We have been in the OPM Rehabilitation Center since 2019, and as Ikwere’s son we have changed our bad lives.
“We never knew we would be alive to see today and we are no taller than those who died in action against the military, police and navy.
“Today we live by the grace of God because the Bible says that whoever the son of God has set free, he is truly free.
“We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we would repent. The day we denounced, we came with our irons (guns) and submitted them.
“Go to Ikwere land now, there is peace because we were the ones causing trouble there before, but today we have changed.
“We implore our communities to give us a second chance. We need freedom and we will defend peace in our communities, ”Obodo said.
He assured that the rehabilitated activists would work with other stakeholders to persuade other activists and young people to stop committing crime in their communities.
“We eat three times a day and our women now have businesses and our children have been enrolled in the free schools of the OPM,” he added. (NOPE)
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