The UK Home Office has banned flamboyant Nigerian pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo, from entering Britain, a British government source told SaharaReporters. Mr. Oyedepo is known as the general overseer of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, otherwise known as Winners Chapel. Headquartered in Ota, Ogun State, the church has branches in numerous parts of the world, including the UK and US.
According to the source, the ban arose from preliminary investigations by Britain’s Charity Commission that determined that monies donated to Bishop Oyedepo’s church for charitable purposes were funneled to Nigeria to fund the preacher’s flamboyant lifestyle.
Bishop Oyedepo owns a plush private jet and has a fleet of expensive cars, among many other astonishing personal assets.
Bishop Oyedepo was barred from entering the United Kingdom in July. However, when SaharaReporters contacted Nicola Kelly, a press officer at the immigration desk at the UK Home Office, she declined to comment on the case.
The same day, our reporter spoke to one Emmanuel Igban, a media aide to Bishop Oyedepo, but he denied that the high-flying preacher had been banned.
But our British source asserted that Bishop Oyedepo and one of his sons had been aware of the probe of church finances for at least three years now. He added that the probe was triggered after the British Charity Commission found out that the wealthy pastor had taken out more than £16 million from the UK since 2009. He added that the commission closely monitors any repatriation of church resources, disclosing that any repatriation of funds of that size was most likely illegal.
According to the source, Bishop Oyedepo claimed that he was running a not-for-profit religious organization, “but the commission determined that he was diverting funds to engage in a series of profitable ventures.”
Bishop Oyedepo, who recently turned 60, is believed to be Nigeria’s richest pastor and is widely regarded as one of the richest televangelists in the world.
The UK government has distributed notices warning airlines that operate flights to the UK not carry the bishop.
Mr. Oyedepo’s private jet is also barred from entering the UK airspace with him on board.
A few years ago, Bishop Oyedepo provoked international outrage when videotapes of one of his church events showed him slapping a teenage girl he accused of being a witch. In the face of mounting criticism, including calls for his arrest for assaulting a minor, Mr. Oyedepo boasted that he would slap the “witch” again.