• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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David Oyedepo Reportedly Banned from UK

From This Is Africa:

The UK Home Office has barred multi-millionaire Nigerian preacher David Oyedepo from entering the United Kingdom, according to sources.

The source is someone “at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport”, who appears to have provided a photograph of a Home Office “Airline Alert” issued by the British Deputy High Commission in Lagos. The text of the image is blurred, but seems that airlines have been warned that they face a fine of £2,000 if they transport Oyedepo to the UK, despite the fact that he holds a “Category C” ten-year visa.

There has been some speculation over whether the document is genuine; however, Oyedepo was known to have been due to travel to his son’s franchise church in Dartford over this weekend, and there is no sign of him on the church’s Twitter feed, @WINNERSLONDON. There are, though, photos of and Tweets about his wife, Faith Oyedepo, who has come to Dartford.

The apparent banning of Oyedepo is something of a surprise: he’s made regular visits to the UK without attracting controversy or adverse attention (indeed, a few years ago I saw his face advertised on the side of a taxi in central London). However, in 2012 he was the subject of a negative profile in the Daily Mail, entitled “Laughing on his private jet – the £93m pastor accused of exploiting British worshippers“. As well as dwelling on the controversy of the “prosperity gospel”, the article noted:

The Mail on Sunday has seen video footage of Mr Oyedepo striking a woman across the face and condemning her to hell after she said she was a ‘witch for Jesus’. He attacked her in a Winners’ Chapel superchurch, believed to be in Nigeria, in front of worshippers. A separate video shows him saying: ‘I slapped a witch here last year!’

I wrote about the incident here. Oyedepo’s ministry is not focused on looking for supposed “witches” in the same way that Helen Ukpabio is obsessed with the subject, but it was nonetheless troubling and indicated that he’s a part of the problem of harmful “witchcraft” accusations.

If the This is Africa report is accurate, I expect Oyedepo is being kept out under a catch-all “not conductive to the public good” provision. The Canadian faith healer Todd Bentley was similarly kept out of the UK in 2012.