…Woman at the centre of fake healings in multiple churches narrates how she came about deformed arm that has been healed countless times in miracle sessions by popular pastors • She is paid N9,000 per appearance in churches in Lagos, Rivers, Ebonyi • As a Muslim, it’s business for me, says suspect
Last year, she was one of the popular persons on social media. Nigerians still remember the woman with retractable arm who was at the centre of the fake miracle storm that raged on social media last year.
Time and again, as captured on various videos from various churches, she was supposedly healed of a stunted, bulgy arm that miraculously extended to its natural length and shape.
Presently, she is a guest at the police station. The woman who identified herself as Bose Olasunkanmi was recently arrested by operatives of Inspector General of Police, Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Igando, a suburb of Lagos.
Videos of her purported miracle healings in a number of Lagos churches hit the Internet in 2019, raising questions about the authenticity of the so-called miracles performed by some popular pastors. One of the ministers indicted was Pastor Chris Okafor, General Overseer, Mountain of Liberation and Miracles Ministry who was seen in a video ministering to her and miraculously restored her deformed arm to normal shape.
Back in October 2019 when the brouhaha broke over the miracle scam, Pastor Okafor, through his media aide, Sunday Adeyemi, had spoken defensively. “The woman was in our church really,” he said, and affirmed that she was healed, but went back to where she stayed before and the affliction probably returned. “That was what happened to the woman,” he affirmed.
Olasunkanmi, who at the time claimed she hailed from Ibarapa, Oyo State, also absolved the miracle performers of any fraud, claiming she was healed at every church she visited including that of Pastor Chris Okafor, and never collected a dime from pastors of those churches.
New twist, then confession
IRT detectives in Lagos who had been on her trail since the videos went viral caught up with her a few days after she retuned from Ebonyi State. Now face-to-face with the police, she is singing a different song.
Her story has changed. The 44-year-old affirmed that she was paid for “appearance” in churches that specialized in miracle. In plain terms, she was invited to act and was paid a fee.
In this interview with Saturday Sun, Bose Olasunkanmi, a Muslim by faith, opened a can of worms about unscrupulous miracle pastors and the truth about her retractable hand.
An accident that changed her life
The native of Ilesa, Osun State explained how she came about a deformed arm. She attributed the deformity to an unfortunate accident that partially crippled her. “I came to Lagos in 1989 with my mother. Unfortunately, she died in 1990 and I was left in the care of my two sisters. Our relatives ordered me to go to Ijesha, in Surulere, to serve a woman who owned a restaurant.”
She was to be compensated at the end of the agreed period.
“I served her for nine years and at the end of those years she refused to pay me a dime,” she continued. “My relatives who knew about the agreement were still trying to convince her to pay me when I had a terrible accident.”
She claimed she was waiting at the Ijesha bus stop when she was run over by a bus that drove against the traffic. “I was in hospital for months until my family could not afford to pay my hospital bills,” she recounted. “This was how I lost my right hand and left leg.” Although, her limbs were not amputated, the bones, however, broken in places, no longer perfectly connected.
“I lost all my teeth, what I have in my mouth is artificial dentition,” she disclosed further.
From street begging to church appearance
After she was discharged from hospital, she returned to Igando to live with her sister and met the man who became her husband. The couple married in 2003 and had three children but only one, a girl, survived.
Her life took a turn for the worse after she lost her husband on October 8, 2017.
While she was on the street begging for alms, she met Fatila Musa, the woman who introduced her to the miracle scam.
“I asked her for money and she asked me why I cannot go and find a work. After I told her my story, she asked if I was ready to do anything to make money. She told me that she was a contractor for some pastors, that she normally supplies persons who will pretend that they were healed.”
She continued: “I was reluctant to do that, but she convinced me that I would make more money than others and that all I need do was to stand and gradually release my arm while the prayer is on.”
On how much was agreed for her appearance fee, Olasunkanmi disclosed: “We agreed that for every service, she would give me N9, 000. I don’t know how much they paid her because she was the contractor.”
And the arm? “My arm is flexible because bones are broken inside,” she said, demonstrating as the bulgy arm gradually elongated and returned to shape. “I can move it up and down,” she asserted.
Dealings with miracle ministers
Asked to name some of the churches where she had given performances, Olasunkanmi claimed she had lost count and was not interested in knowing their names, but if she were shown their faces, she would recognize them.
Videos were shown to her to refresh her memory. The first one was the recording of the miraculous healing by Bishop Tony Aniekwu of Radiant Army Deliverance Ministry located in Ogba area of Lagos.
“This is Anthony, Anthony, I know him very well!” she shouted. “I went for rehearsal a day before I performed the act. The next day, I was called out and he started rubbing oil on my hand and I began to release the arm as agreed. He was very kind to me. I was given N9, 000 by Fatila after the church programme.”
The event in question took place in September 2018 during the programme dubbed “September to Remember”. Olasunkanmi declared: “Anywhere (video) you saw me, none of them (ministers) healed me. I was just invited to pretend as if my hand was hanging and later released after their prayers.”
Moving round the country
On why she started touring churches for performance, she said, “I can only visit a church once.” After appearances in Lagos, “we relocated to Port Harcourt and Ebonyi,” she said. “It was the pastors who wanted my services that normally tell Fatila to invite me.”
According to her, she had performed in more than six churches in Port Harcourt and in three churches in Ebonyi State.
She remembered the church in Port Harcourt. “That is Ambassador of Christ pastored by one Goodwill Abbey,” she said. “I remember him because he linked us up with other pastors.”
Driven by fear of survival
Olasunkanmi claimed it never occurred to her that she was committing any crime by putting up fake performances. “I needed money and Fatila convinced me that I did not commit any crime even if anyone should catch me. It was in the police station that they made me to understand that I am a fraudster,” she said.
Her husband’s death––and the resultant poverty––she said, was the reason she toed such a dishonourable path.
“I am a Muslim and does not believe in what they preach in the church; so for me, it was strictly business. Although, sometime I will wish that they will truly cure me. I cannot do anything with a crippled arm and leg.”
The ignominy of her behaviour stared her in the face after police were through questioning her. “I feel so bad, if I knew that it will end like this, I will not try it, I would rather become a beggar,” she lamented. “My aged father in the village is down with stroke, I wonder how he would feel when he hears this.”
Asked if she is hopeful of being healed someday by a man of God, Olasunkanmi was very assertive in her response: “ I believe in God Almighty and Mohammed is His prophet. After my accident, I have done everything possible to seek spiritual healing but all failed. No man of God, in the church or mosque, can heal me.”
She added: “All of them are fake. They used me to deceive people. My advice to those seeking miracle is to pray to God in heaven; if He wants to heal, He will. All the persons in churches and mosques who claim that they are performing miracles are the real fraudsters. I am only a victim.”