Though not denying the growing divorce scandal surrounding him, the head pastor of Christ Embassy Church, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, has threatened legal recourse against journalists publishing stories about him and his wife, Anita's divorce.
The pastor, who spoke through his lawyer, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), called the accusations of adultery a "false and malicious" attack against him and the church.
“The attention of our client, Rev. Chris Oyakhilome, and the church has been drawn to the wave of false, malicious and fabricated stories being published in the print and electronic media about his person, the church and a matrimonial cause between him and his wife," his attorney stated.
Sharply criticizing the recent coverage of the divorce proceedings, which the statement did not refute, the release claimed that publishers went so far as to fabricate claims that he had committed adultery against his wife, Anita.
Characterizing the media's coverage of his wife's efforts to divorce him as “complete distortion of the facts in the pending proceedings in the United Kingdom”, the statement cited the coverage as "selfishly motivated" for political and financial advantage.
Oyakhilome's counsel further said the media's coverage was engineered to bring him and the church shame and ridicule, though his wife was the person who aired the allegations against him. Earlier today, Wednesday, Mrs. Oyakhilome even told Premium Times, through counsel, that the marriage had "terribly degenerated".
The statement also acknowledged freedom of the press, but quite contradictorily cautioned that further action will be taken to safeguard the image of the church and the pastor if coverage continued.
"Be warned therefore that unless the concerned media houses desist from further publishing words and stories which are false and damaging of our client’s reputation and the church, we shall, without further recourse to the concerned publishers, promptly embark on appropriate legal machinery with a view to protecting our client’s reputation and that of the church."
In a related development, a close friend of Pastor Anita, and a founding church member of the UK Branch, has shared what she believes led to the marriage breakdown on the controversial Facebook page for Rev Anita's supporters.
Cyla Simpson says she took time to find out what is really happening and these are the things Rev Anita is asking for:
1. For Pastor Chris to, "please put the family in the timetable too. The times you don’t have any engagement, please come home. I need you and the children need you."
2. On Pastor Chris immorality, "to let all these ladies move out of White House and go and get houses outside… if they don’t already have one and allow them marry."
Read the full post below…
“I am writing this to everyone with a heavy heart. It is heart wrenching to see the way people are referring to Rev Anita and how uncultured people are while talking. You don’t need to be derogatory or condescending to express yourself no matter your level as a christian. First I would join true Christians around the world to appeal to Rev Anita but would say listen to God rather than man.
“I want to appeal to everyone to please pause and think deep because whatever a man sow, he shall surely reap. This is like beating a child like Ibo elders will say and still take the tears from the child. Take a step aside and think. Is there a woman who will give up her home on flimsy excuse, if no why are we so callous and insensitive in this matter. I am a married woman and so are many reading this, or you have a mother, a sister or daughter. If you are happy for them to go through whatever brought Rev Anita to this level please continue with your judgemental approach towards her. And the God of truth will visit everyone with same except if there was no cause. Amen!!!
“I have read some accusing her of money and power motivation. PLEASE LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE PASTOR ANITA I KNOW AS MOST OF YOU YOUNG ONES IN NIGERIA DO NOT HAVE MUCH OF AN ENCOUNTER WITH HER. Rev Anita has been my pastor for about 13 years now. I am one of the founding members of her church and I have seen her grow a church from using all any available venue while planting more churches in faith sending her best member out to start a new church, from two churches in England has grown to churches in almost every borough and cities. Rev Anita will see anyone and everyone regardless of your status.
“If she ever kept you waiting, she will apologise profusely throughout the meeting and make it good to you. Rev Anita without an office will still counsel us even in her car on Wednesday night after church yet she has 1hour 30mins drive back home with 2 young girls. For so long she was driving a volkswagon golf until 2005 that we bought her a BMW X3 and she still refused to drive it for many months until she was begged to use it so that we can be blessed. She used the same car until 2010/2011 and the replacement she had then is still what she used till her last day in church last year.
“We begged her to come around for us to celebrate her birthday but she will still go into hiding. On her return the little song we will do for her, she will return it to Rev Chris in thanksgiving. Any money you give her she sends it straight to church account or Loveworld TV. If we ever raise money for her birthday she ask us to go and use it for evangelism or send it to Loveworld TV. When you give her any material thing, regardless of the shop you purchased it, she will use it for you to see and thank you as long as she sees you for the gift.
“At Christmas, while service was on up to 2013 christmas she will give almost everyone in church gift. Foodstuff will be dropped at your side as service. She will specially take care of the elderly, help you settle down when you arrive in the country. No barren left without children as she will make it her project until it happens. So how come people came up with this terrible accusation. You accused her of being rude to some CEC members. Wow. This is wicked. First for so long, she was the Vice President and others have other positions. I thought husband and wife are one.
“She raised 2 girls in this society and the 2 girls are admirable, humble, down-to-earth children. They are children not a reflection of the home they grew. Pastor Chris was not around. He came to our church on Fathers’ Day sometimes ago and he told us one of the daughters’ requested for it as her birthday gift – how touching and how she treasures her dad’s presence. She could ask for material thing but she asked for his presence and we all are here judging them. I remember these girls will politely beg me to allow them carry my baby and they will play with him and when they bring him back, they will thank me for letting them carry him and I’m surprised because I should thank them for helping me. And they do same to other mothers in the mothers’ area where we sit in church. Is it not what they saw their mum do, they are not class-freak.
“I remember that visit of Pastor, Rev Tom talking said we may not value what we have. That she is the grace in the CEC. If they all condemn someone, she will see a good reason to embrace the person and she has always been right. Rev Chris said at one IPPC that most changes we see here in the ministry, she in her simple way brought them and that was the day he spoke about how she talked about the effort we put into publicity of programme but that same or more should be put in telling what the Lord did in that programme when its over. So what changed now, because she is asking for a change.
“I have read all the messages here by some writers, the news is all over our church and I have taken my time to find out what is really happening and to the much available, below are the things Rev Anita is asking for:
She told Rev Chris that you are such an organised person, you give us almost a full year calendar on Dec 31st of every year, please put the family in the timetable too. The times you don’t have any engagement, please come home. I need you and the children need you. Please bear in mind she has been here since 1999 and she was just about 30 years old then as a married woman with 2 children. So for almost 16 years of her marriage, no husband at home for straight 1 week, no dad at home for the children. No christmas, yet he has party with the staff that we all watch at Christmas. Even Jesus always withdrew from the crowd to fellowship with his father.
– She asked Rev Chris that on hearing of the immorality, ‘not holding it against you but let all these ladies move out of White House and go and get houses outside. They are rich enough to buy houses at their place of choice if they don’t already have one and allow them marry. Who benefits from this choice, is it not everyone? So which is her offence in this. And Rev Chris did not agree to it. The brothers even said they went to have meeting with him in South Africa to beg him to at least meet her half-way but he refused. 2 public responses are the emergency Bible study after their meeting with him titled – Spirit of Error and Spirit of Truth, please flash back at this meeting or relisten to it and after so much call in the UK for him to produce our mother, he had meeting with our pastors and deacons in May and it is recorded that many left the meeting weeping for the way he described our mother that some have had lifetime experience with.”