Report on Samuel Ochengele's Ministry in Nigeria
On-the-ground sources in Nigeria provided most of the information in this report, one of whom said, "This information is given to help wounded and traumatized pilgrims."
Commentary on this report shows correlations between Samuel's behavior and the article, Robert Lifton's Criteria for Thought Reform, in which similar parallels are made with the Assembly ministry of George Geftakys. We hope that by some means the believers in the Otukpo Assemblies may be assured that a voice has been raised against the wrongs Samuel Ochenjele has committed against them.
- In 1981, while still associated with the "objolo", as the evangelistic ministry CEFN was called at the time, Samuel was accused of diverting funds donated by Americans. The group split over this issue, and Samuel left, taking people with him.
- After the Geftakys team donated funds for the construction of a meeting hall in Otukpo, a Leading Brother in the Otukpo Assembly, who was knowledgeable and involved in the planned construction project, confronted Samuel with diverting the funds.
- The same brother also confronted Samuel about withholding funds from America intended to support a Nigerian student who had previously lived in America. Abiodun was a former gambler who had come to Christ. The Leading Brothers in America had advised him to return to Nigeria to live with Samuel and finish his education. Financial support sent to him apparently did not reach him, and he had to resort to selling water for money to buy food. The contractor took pity on him and spoke to Samuel on his behalf.
Steve Irons traveled to Africa with George Geftakys and Roger Grant in
After the Irons family
left fellowship in 1990, Samuel told the Assemblies in Nigeria
that Steve left because his son was a drunkard and
homosexual, and Steve did not allow the brethren to punish him.
These allegations are false, as Steve's story shows.
Samuel asserted that Steve was "writing petitions against the brethren", referring to articles exposing the abusive behavior of George Geftakys and his wrong teaching. The implication was that Steve was writing against Samuel, Roger, and other brethren who traveled with George. Samuel was discrediting Steve in order to extinguish the people's affection and admiration for him, and cover up the real reasons why he was no longer associated with the Geftakys ministry.
- Dr. Sunday Ochenjele is Samuel's younger brother, who also
lives in Otukpo. He is a believer, but is not involved in the Otukpo
Assembly. In 2001, the Geftakys team visited the
building site of
Dr. Sunday Ochenjele's
private medical clinic. Unsolicited by Dr. Ochenjele, the team
promised to provide some medical equipment for his clinic, which would also be
used by a medical team that was being assembled to come with GG on
his next visit. They also
offered to help put a roof on the building, but Dr. Sunday
declined this offer.
Samuel gave assurances that he had government contacts to get the donated items through customs duty-free. Was this ethical? Would it not fall under "...render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"? This kind of weasling around tax laws is typical of the Geftakys ministry.
A brouhaha then evolved about the medical equipment, which is detaileded on the Nigeria Assemblies page. In short, the promised medical equipment arrived, but in damaged condition, and duty of 3 million naira (about $23,000) was indeed levied. Samuel and George Geftakys accused Dr. Sunday of retaining an attorney to help him claim the equipment for his exclusive use. They refused to pay the duty, and abandoned the shipment. Dr. Ochenjele says, "I have never hired a lawyer in my life and did not do so during the unfortunate equipment crisis either." He obtained a personal loan to pay the duty, and retained the damaged shipment.
- Samuel is misrepresenting
George Geftakys' excommunication from the Fullerton Assembly.
His story is that George did not commit any personal sins, but was
being punished for his inability to control his adult family
members: David divorced his wife, and Timothy's daughter became
pregnant out of wedlock.
When Roger Grant was to visit Nigeria in November 2003, Samuel promised the people that Roger would testify that George was innocent, and that he was no longer traveling simply because of his advanced age, but was training missionaries at home. When Roger came, he said no such thing, of course; he didn't mention George at all. The people, having been frightened and indoctrinated against the internet and this website in particular, still believe Samuel's spin on the situation.
- Since his return from his trip to America in 2003, Samuel has misrepresented his meeting with Steve Irons, saying that Steve came to him to apologize for writing articles, and promised to shut down this website. Obviously, this was not the case. Samuel told Steve that the report of George Geftakys' immorality would cause terrible Muslim reprisals on the "saints". We have since learned that this is not the case.
Someone in Nigeria wrote,
"Ignorance is the force used by the spirit of oppression to maintain control. Sometime ago when we were still in the Assembly, Samuel came from a Workers Conference in Colorado and told us that Roger Grant, a computer scientist in America, gave a teaching on the satanic nature of the internet, which is why many don’t use the internet. Roger brought a videocassette titled “Revelation” in which a computer program, called 'Virtual Reality', can cause a user to appear in any part of the world he desires." [Ed: This seems to refer to the movie, Apocalypse II: Revelation, in which virtual reality is portrayed as a step toward creating a direct interface with the human mind, a frightening prospect indeed.]
George Geftakys no doubt instructed Roger to bring a message denouncing the internet. Prior to 2003, this was spin control to prevent people from reading the reports about the Assembly and David Geftakys on the Rick Ross website, and an obvious example of "milieu control". After January, 2003, Samuel and others used it to keep people off this website where they would learn the whole story about GG's excommunication and the major problems with the Assembly.
Roger was one of the original Leading Brothers in the Chicago Assembly, and a Worker who always accompanied GG on the African leg of his annual journeys. That he would be persuaded by George to participate in the spin-control to the extent of presenting such a misleading impression of the internet to the Workers shows how deeply George's lack of ethics pervaded the thinking of his associates. Roger was also directly involved in Kristin's situation, and turned a blind eye to thinly-veiled lascivious correspondence from George being carried on before his very eyes.
Samuel has no accountability to anyone present in Otukpo. He has no peers. His network of American connections and his comparative wealth set him above the local people. He makes decisions and judgments independently of the Leading Brothers in the Otukpo Assembly.
- At the very beginning, no doubt with George Geftakys' agreement and direction, people who had left CEFN with Samuel but wished to maintain fellowship with them were discouraged from doing so. If they wanted to attend CEFN meetings, they were obliged to do it secretly without Samuel's knowledge.
- Instead of responding to the Leading Brother's questions about the use of funds by disclosing the financial records, Samuel suspended him from fellowship. One of the man's sons, who has since become involved in an international Christian ministry, has said it seemed like a spell was working against his father after he was excluded from the Assembly - his wealth dwindled, his wife left him, and his children dropped out of school for lack of finances. Like Geftakys Assembly leaders in America, Samuel capitalizes on such coincidences to preach that misfortunes, illness, disability, even death, happen to people who leave the Assembly, due to their rebellion and sin.
- When the white brethren visited Nigeria, they were basically under lock and key.
The reason Samuel gave for this was danger, such as a possible plan by "enemies of the Assembly"
to poison them. A resident of Otukpo says such a plan is highly unlikely. It seems that the real
purpose was to prevent the visitors from freely attending to the needs of
the people, rather than the needs of Samuel and George.
A woman in the Otukpo Assembly showed one of the teenagers there a picture of Steve Irons, and a Bible she said he had given her. The young man wanted to meet Steve, But Steve didn't come the next year, and Samuel instituted a policy that the believers were not allowed to get close to the American team. This was to prevent people from receiving special gifts from the Americans or being invited to America. Even letters to members of the Geftakys team had to be delivered first to Samuel; because he censored letters from America and did not allow anyone to have American addresses.
- A poor woman and her daughter, who was born out of wedlock, came to the Otukpo Assembly at one time. She wanted to repent and walk with the Lord. At first she was allowed to attend, but after two weeks Samuel and the Leading Brothers sent them away. He told the church that " God is not interested in multitudes, but in the few who are able to abide in holiness. Even if everyone leaves, he and his wife would serve the Lord alone."
- Orphans, widows, the poor, and anyone who will be a burden seem to not be welcome. On one occasion Roger Grant got a sharp rebuke from Samuel at the Abuja hotel when he wanted to preach to Samuel's driver without his permission. Steve Irons had a similar experience with G. Geftakys in Nigeria. Contrary to a news report, Samuel does not run an orphanage for AIDS orphans, although his school, Livingstone Academy, does have students who are orphans.
- Samuel excommunicates people from fellowship whom he feels "
the purity of the gathering" (a phrase also used by G. Geftakys.)
One example is a woman who was married to a polygamist prior to
receiving Christ. She and her children had been in the Otukpo Assembly
for several years when Samuel demanded that she leave her husband,
saying her marriage was unscriptural and her children were born in
fornication. He told her that her evil marriage was the reason why her
children didn't have funds to attend the university, because nobody
would sponsor them. He threatened her that they would be useless in life
without help. When she did not leave her husband, she was
excommunicated, and the people were told to not associate with her.
Several women from the church visited the woman once anyway, during the church's regular time of visitation and evangelism on Saturdays. It was reported to Samuel, and during the Sunday worship the next day when one of the women offered a prayer, Samuel shouted, "Shut up!" and stopped her, because she had disobeyed his edict.
After this, one of the sons of the excommunicated woman requested a meeting with the Leading Brothers and Justice James Ogebe. It was to no avail, and the woman's children left the Assembly. Her daughter was married several months later, and none of their friends in the Assembly attended the wedding. Samuel preaches against people who leave, just as G.G. did, without mentioning names, in messages such as, "The Spirit of Offence."
- Samuel interfered with the marriage of an Assembly man to a Christian woman from outside the Assembly. The man asked Samuel to pray about it, and Samuel retorted that it was not necessary because he had no peace about the union. He further said that he had yet to see a genuine Christian lady--they are all pretenders. (Presumably he was referring to women outside the Assembly?) The couple was married anyway, with an ordained minister from outside the Assembly performing the ceremony. Samuel never approved of the marriage, and preached about his disagreements with the husband. The couple soon discontinued their fellowship with the Assembly.
- A brother named Joshua committed adultery, and then reported
himself to the church, and was suspended. It is reported that Samuel
went to his house and
prophesied the punishment of death on him. Samuel said he "blew the
trumpet of holiness". The man left fellowship with his family, in spite
of attempts by Justice James to restore him, but one of his sons
remained loyal to the Assembly.
The boy stayed in Samuel's custody and was hidden away. Eventually an influential brother in the Assembly confronted the Leading Brothers to release the boy to his parents. The boy seemed mentally disturbed when he returned, telling of a "cult initiation" eating rice in Samuel's house, which was witnessed by one of the American team. He claimed it had given him mystical powers, and that his "bone of initiation" was buried in Livingstone Academy and later taken to America. He asserted that Samuel gave him an assignment to kill his own father. The Assembly dismissed all this, saying the boy was not in his right mind.
We urge the Nigerian brethren to read this website and become informed about the Assemblies. Learn the facts about the excommunication of George Geftakys and the errors, the abuses, and the cultic control of the Geftakys' ministry, perpetrated not only by George Geftakys himself, but also by the leaders he trained.
See also the Commentary on the Report from Nigeria which spells out how the cultic practices of the Geftakys Assemblies in the USA have been exported overseas.
Samuel Ochenjele's behavior that has been reported here is not worthy of a true under-shepherd of our Lord Jesus. Jesus is very clear how his servants are to lead:
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. BUT IT SHALL NOT BE SO WITH YOU...Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave..." Matt 22.
Taking unscriptural authority over God's people and teaching other men to do so is one of the most wrong and damaging aspects of George Geftakys' legacy.
Comments from Readers:
Anonymous in Nigeria: I am writing these words with the hope that it will help shed more light on what is really happening. Samuel needs to do what he is doing or has done to survive - it is he way of sustaining his lifestyle. Yes, there is much concern for the children born and raised in the Assemblies, here in Africa as well as in the USA. There is no difference between G. Geftakys and Samuel Ochenjele, except perhaps only in the immorality of GG. Everything that applies in the Assemblies there in the USA is the same here in the Assemblies that Samuel leads. They have isolated themselves from the rest body of Christ and are very much being controlled in an occultic manner.
Wayne Mathews: There were problems on both sides about the medical equipment. What began as a sincere attempt to help the needy in Otukpo ended as a bitter feud. I was grieving that it became that. Samuel initially thought with his contacts in high places the equipment could be duty free, but at the same time, the Nigerian government started cracking down on corruption of officials who were declaring charitable imports and pocketing the customs fees as personal profits.
The only other comment I have regarding the condition of the equipment and expired medications is that the shipment was first delayed for several months by U.S. customs for inspection (paid for by U.S. brethren), and then delayed several more months in Lagos, Nigeria, where it sat in hot dusty warehouses. This no doubt affected the state of the equipment. I can personally attest that the equipment on the U.S. side was carefully packed and tested for function before it left. On another note, several thousand dollars of useful medical equipment, colonoscopes, operating equipment, pulse oximeters, etc. were brought by myself, Dr. Gordon Kim and Dr. Tom Hines in our medical visit working with Dr. Sunday. This was fully functional, top of the line stuff and given to Sunday by us, including training to use it.