The United Kingdom Government, through the Charity Commission, has opened an inquiry into the activities of Nigerian-owned church, SPAC Nation, various online media platforms have reported.
According to reports, the church is run by 39-year-old Pastor Tobi Adegboyega, a Nigerian who took up residency in Britain in 2005.
According to the Evening Standard, Adegboyega once shared a room with his cousin, Star Wars actor John Boyega, after moving to London from Nigeria; adding that the pastor “works with young people who have been involved with gangs and street crime.”
The church is being investigated over allegations that pastors were pressuring young people in the congregation to sell their own blood to raise funds, Mail on Sunday has reported.
“The Charity Commission said it has opened an inquiry into SPAC Nation to probe financial and safeguarding concerns after claims emerged that pastors had encouraged worshippers to take out loans in order to pay for the church’s lavish spending,” the medium claimed.
The commission described SPAC Nation as “a charity set up to ‘advance Christianity,’ noting that it works “particularly with young people.”
It has, meanwhile, ordered the church to deposit all its money in the bank while the investigation lasts.
While the Scotland Yard is said to be reviewing the complaints against the SPAC Nation, Labour MP Steve Reed, who is also the Shadow Children’s Minister, told the Mail On Sunday that the allegations he had received about SPAC Nation were “truly disturbing.”
SPAC Nation has since denied all wrongdoing, Huffington Post said.
Trouble allegedly started after the Huffington Post alleged in a report that some members of SPAC Nation had been taking teenagers to donate blood for medical trials in a practice known as “bleeding for seed.”
The Mail On Sunday had alleged that parishioners were encouraged to raise £100,000 a week; while HuffPost UKalleged that young church members claimed that some members go to donate blood and are paid up to £100 by medical trial companies.
“This money is then handed by the young people over to the church’s pastors,” HuffPost UK said.
The reports further alleged that while members were told to raise “the seed” through whatever means — including if they had to “beg, borrow or steal,” pastors in the church cruise around town in £150,000 Rolls-Royces and a Lamborghini with personalised number plates such as ‘Pastor R.R’ on a Rolls Royce allegedly owned by a pastor.
In a series of links on the SPAC Nation’s website, various media reports had earlier focused on the activities of the church and its lead pastor, Adegboyega.
The BBC in a February 1, 2018 report had described SPAC Nation as “The church where drugs and knives are left at the altar;” while The Sunday Times of August 11, 2018 sees it as a church that uses “‘Demonic’ drill rap used to spread the gospel.”
On its homepage, the SPAC Nation has this to say about itself:
‘SAFEGUARDING POLICY FOR CHILDREN & YOUNG PEOPLE
2019 – 2020.’
“SPACNATION is a faith based organisation that is committed in seeing the lives of young people being transform ed. A generation whereby many young people have been dejected, abused and simp l y overlooked, SPACNATION merely offers an alternative, whilst changing the narrative of this generation one step at a time.
“Taking a hands on approach, SPACNATION offers 1:1 mentorship / key work sessions , counselling and guidance through the means of lifestyle evangelism ’’. A concept that is not common within today s society, SPACNATION breaks the mould and has demonstrated over the year’s continuous commitment to young people.
“Uncompromising non conformists. SPACNATION loves GOD and loves PEOPLE.
“The care and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in Church activities is the responsibility of the whole Church. Everyone who participates in the life of the Church has a role to play in promoting a Safer Church for all. This document sets out the safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adult’s policy of SPACNATION. SPACNATION ’s safeguarding policy statement is based on 5 foundations and offers 6 overarching policy commitments:
1. Promoting a Safer environment and culture
2. Safely recruiting and supporting all those with any responsibility related to children, young people and vulnerable adults within the Church
3. Responding promptly to every safe guarding concern or allegation
4. Caring pastorally for victims/survivors of abuse and other affected persons
5. Caring pastorally for those who are the subject of concerns or allegations of abuse and other affected persons.
6. Responding to those that may pose a present risk to others.”