Prophet Israel Oladele Ogundipe has facilitated the release of Seven inmates from Maximum Correctional Centre at Kirikiri, Lagos.
Ogundipe is the prophet in-charge of the popular Church, Celestial Church of Christ Genesis Global Parish situated at Alakuko area of Ogun State.
Recall that Lagos State High Court has sentenced the popular prophet to two years imprisonment for allegedly defrauding a United Kingdom-based woman, Mrs Olaide Williams-Oni. But Prophet Ogundipe has appealed the judgement.
According to one of the Seven inmates, Azeez Ibraheem, who spoke on how he regained his freedom; narrated that he served 10 years and 6 months at kirikiri Correctional Centre for wrong identification.
Read the full from interview below..
What is your name?
My name is Azeez Ibrahim. I am a welder and lived in Oshodi. I am from Ipokia local government, Ogun state.
What led to your imprisonment?
I was arrested alongside others whom I didn’t know at Oshodi, sometimes in 2010 during the unrest of which I wasn’t apart. Those who arrested us took us to various police stations and cells before finally dropping me and a few others at the cell of the now-disbanded SPECIAL ANTI ROBBERY SQUAD, popularly known as SARS.
At the SARS office, the narration changed and I was being alleged of robbery and arson, which I quickly refuted, though I got serious humiliation and reorganisation for reiterating my innocence to the preferred charges
From there I was transferred to the Ikoyi medium prisons before being transferred to maximum prisons in 2013, where I eventually met Prophet Oladele (Ogundipe,), Genesis.
I was there until one afternoon in Ma, 2015. There had been a case of manslaughter involving one Azeez Ibrahim, which coincidentally happens to be my name as it is in the prison records. Prison officials came around to announce the name, to which I responded and was told that my attention was needed at the prisons Records office. On getting to the office now, I was informed that I would be appearing in court the following Monday and I simply said okay. I looked forward to Monday eagerly at least that I may get a definite judgment and then see a hope to start counting my days.
Monday came and it turned out to be one of the worst days. Instead of having my hope rekindled; it was rather bedimmed. I had responded in the place of another “Azeez Ibrahim”, whose manslaughter offence occurred in Ikorodu.
My objection could not avail much as the female police prosecutor whom I had never seen nor met insisted that I committed the offence in Ikorodu. Asked if she had met me before, she said yes; whether she arrested me, she said yes. She equally affirmed to reminding me in prison and that she also knew me personally as the manslaughter suspect, Azeez Ibrahim, from Ikorodu.
That was on the 1st of June. I was also there on the second and third day of June 2015; on the third day, I was assigned a lawyer, one Mr Adebayo, a very helpful visually impaired man. I pleaded not guilty of the offence as charged because I didn’t kill anybody, I never lived in Ikorodu, neither was I arrested there. I was asked whether I have met the policewoman beforehand and I replied in disagreement. When asked “guilty or not,” I said not guilty. and besides, the said offence was committed in 2014, 4 years after my arrest and detention.
The case was adjourned twice; first for five months and the other for six – so the year ended. We continued like that until the day of “hearing” when the prosecutor just raised his hands and declared before the courts that he was just realizing their mistake. That I am not the accused in the manslaughter case and that he would produce the real suspect within 72 hours from that moment.
How did you react to that?
I was just happy that after all, I would be left off the hook. But that was not to be as the trial judge ordered my return to the prison yard. Only the manslaughter case was “stood down” But the warder who led me from the prison to the court was very annoyed that I wasn’t set free immediately.
He made good his vows to take my case up for a review. He took me to his boss, popularly known as Asakoko.
The boss asked me a few questions and promised to do something about my case. After about three months, another lawyer came, now a female, she asked me what happened and I explained to her, then she also declared that the government must pay me damages for wrongful allegation and detention. After the lady lawyer’s visit now, my case was assigned to Nicole Claire, Lagos Island court, though I had always appeared at Ikeja courts. Here, it was always between my lawyer and the “prosecutor”. I never said anything any time I was brought to court until I got to judgement. At a certain date like that, the lawyer informed me that I will soon become free and that the government will have to compensate me. Everything became complicated. But before I was returned to the prison on that day, the lawyer came and told me of the need to appeal the ruling…I didn’t have any choice.
What now happened to the appeal?
I didn’t hear anything for another 3 years. One day while I was working in the workshop, my name was announced and was told to proceed to the Records office. At the office, I was asked if I consented to the appeal moves by Barrister Adebayo, and I said yes. They then gave me some 3 pieces of paper to sign.
The first date I was given happened to be 26th of March 2020, but the setting could not be held because the government announced the commencement of a lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid 19.
What now happened afterwards?
Nothing happened untIl sometime in September 2020 when I was informed by the officials that a hearing had commenced on my behalf. There was another adjournment but this time a closer one. The merciful magistrate had taken interest in the injustice that melted out on me. She insisted that I was brought before her though the courts had risen. This time around, the adjournments became closer and the case became somewhat accelerated. But the next adjournment which also included the judgement could not hold because of the nationwide “Endsars” protests of that time. 2 weeks later, I was informed that my bail was ready and that I should inform my people that my bail process had been perfected, but I also needed some money, but my hope of raising any money was dashed as another fellow inmate who promised to help me was released on amnesty by the Chief Justice. My hope was lost again.
How did you meet Prophet Israel Oladele?
Hmmm… Prophet Oladele never came to prison. He is not a prisoner. He didn’t come to prison. This is how it started…
There was a revival in the prisons, I just noticed that an unusual Christian revival was going on in the prison. But one spectacular thing is that in my over 10 years in prison, I saw many ministers of God come and organise revivals, but this one was surely different. Everybody including officers on duty was there. The auditorium was always jam-packed. I also saw a lot of faces for the first time. Some inmates who never believed in any pastor or even prayers were all participating in this uncommon revival. But in the middle of the ministration, while we all had our sachet (pure) water; many inmates who never believed any pastor or bishop or alfa came out and we all prayed fervently. The prophet said we should pray on the waters.l
As we were praying now, the man of God, prophet Oladele just came straight to where I was in the crowd, held my hand and started saying many things I had only heard from my mother. He asked if I believed and I said yes. Then he gave some prayer points which I continued to pray even after the programme had ended. Among the prophecies was that seven people would regain their miracle freedom. I keyed into this with my faith and I prayed like every other person on the revival ground.
What now happened?
True to the prophecy by the man of God, six people were released within the first 4 days after the revival had ended. There was general apprehension in the compound as to who the seventh person would be. But I held on to the prophecy with faith that I Azeez Ibrahim would be.
Then one day I got a call that my attention was needed at the records office as usual, on getting there, the officer simply informed me that I had been freed and this was on the seventh day, making me the seventh inmate to regain their freedom in similarly mysterious circumstances. God used the presence of prophet Oladele in the prison to set us free. That’s why I said the man of God was not jailed.
How do you now describe the presence of the Prophet in the prison where you met him?
Noooo! He is not in the prison, he was sent there because of some of us. I am sure he is not a prisoner. My brother, I know what I’m saying, that man is not ordinary, God is using him to perform miracles. Seven people for seven days and I happen to be the number 7th! Securing my freedom was not easy. It could only have been God working through this man. Lest I forget…he also helped me financially to see that everything was okay. He said my woes were over and I see it happening just like that. It was a miracle! The power of God is certainly with him!
So in all, how many years did you spend in jail?
I spent 10 years and 8 months altogether.
What advice do you have for the people based on your life experience?
People should just trust in the Almighty. There are true prophets of God… I don’t know what to say really. But I thank God for the prophet whom God sent to me.
Concerning prisons and inmates?
If I had money when… I will create a fund where I can help people solve their financial problems in the prison. Some people have been there for years because of just 20,000 Naira. Some for fifteen. The government should also make feeding better. The much that the government is spending should be well planned to solve the feeding problems.