The British government has said it is investigating David Oyedepo’s Winners’ Chapel International’s request to establish an independent school in the country.
The fee-paying school, Kingdom Heritage Model School in Dartford, was set to open to children from the age of four in September.
The school, which will teach “Biblical truths” in each subject, is currently being considered by the British Department for Education. The church itself is said to be under investigation by the Charity Commission.
Among those kicking against the church’s opening a school in the country is the National Secular Society, an organisation that campaigns for the separation of religion and state.
The NSS expressed concern that a school linked to the “controversial preacher” was set to open in England.
In a letter to the Department for Education, the NSS had questioned the suitability of the organisation to run educational establishments in the country, raising concerns over both educational standards and child welfare.
In 2011, Oyedepo was, reportedly, captured on video assaulting a young girl at one of his church service. The girl was alleged to be possessed by some evil spirits.
In 2012, the Metropolitan Police stated that children believed to be possessed by evil spirits or believed to be witches are at “clear and immediate risk of significant harm.”
In considering the school’s registration, the NSS has also asked the DfE to look into the details surrounding the death of a three-year-old child who drowned in the toilets of a Kingdom Heritage Model School operated by Winners Chapel in Nigeria in 2012.
The NSS campaigns manager Stephen Evans, said, “Given this Church’s association with belief in witchcraft and the actions of its leader, we hope the department will give serious consideration to the reliability of the school’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.”
According to the rights advocacy group, the proposed school acknowledges “God as the sovereign and only wise God in all affairs of life and learning,” and believes the Bible to be the ultimate source of wisdom.
When our correspondent contacted the church through phone numbers provided on its website, one of the respondents said he was a technical person and as such could not comment on the issue.
But another staff of the church, who refused to give his name, said the allegation was “a scam, it cannot be true.” Punch