Nigerian-born founder of Jesus Dominion International headquartered in Durban, South Africa, Pastor Tim Omotoso, may spend the next 12 days behind bars, it has emerged.
Omotoso was arrested on Thursday afternoon at the Port Elizabeth Airport shortly after arrival from Durban.
He was denied bail by a court last Friday after arraignment over allegations of sexual assaults against at least 30 ladies in his church.
The 58-year-old, according to The Herald, a South African newspaper, quickly disappeared to the toilet with an unidentified woman seconds after arrival.
But police operatives traced him to the toilet where he was handcuffed and bundled away to massive cheers by onlookers.
“Within minutes of the first passengers disembarking, police rushed on to the tarmac. But Omotoso was seen walking into the toilets minutes earlier, accompanied by a woman,” the paper reported.
The paper said that about eight heavily-armed policemen were in the airport searching for the pastor.
It said that the policemen went into the toilet, dragged out the unidentified woman before arresting Omotoso.
Omotoso’s lawyer, Terry Price, who was present at the airport, had reportedly protested, “You cannot arrest him here without a warrant!”
Price accused the South African police of maltreating Omotoso.
“They (the police) are worse than Mugabe’s thugs in Zimbabwe,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.
“Since when do you arrest an unarmed pastor with eight armed men? He is not a danger.”
Robert Netshiunda, a spokesperson of the Tactical Response Team, TRT, the special police unit that arrested Omotoso later said: “We can’t say he wanted to run. We can say he sought refuge in the toilets.”
The police alleged that Omotoso over the years trafficked about 30 young women from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal where he allegedly exploited them sexually.
Omotoso is not new to sexual allegations. The multi-talented preacher was founder of All Youth Crusade Ministry on Liberty road, Ibadan in the 90s.
But the thriving church disintegrated over sexual charges against Omotoso, a former music director of Ebenezer Obey’sDecross Band & Inter Reformers’ Band in the 80s.
He was dogged by the same scandal in the UK from where he relocated to South Africa.
But South Africa’s branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on authorities to follow due process in the handling of the case.
CAN expressed fears that Omotoso’s arrest might trigger more anti-Nigerian sentiment in South Africa.
The founder of a 24-hour satellite TV station, Ancient of Days Broadcasting Network (ADBN) aired across the Caribbean, Africa, Mexico, Middle East, Europe and the United States, is married with three children.