Anita Odegwa Oyakhilome says she has now formally completed the process of divorcing Chris Oyakhilome, pastor and founder of Christ Embassy Church (also known as the Believers Love World), as her husband, TheCable reports
Filing for divorce in Suit No FD14D01650 on April 9, 2014 at Divorce Section A, Central Family Court, First Avenue House, High Holborn, London, UK, Anita had said, through her lawyers, Attwaters Jameson Hill Solicitors, that the marriage should be dissolved on the basis of “unreasonable behaviour” and “adultery” (inappropriate relationships with members of staff), which Oyakhilome continued to deny.
Similarly, she made the announcement of the divorce – and her withdrawal from the church – through her lawyers.
“We have been requested by Anita Oyakhilome to confirm that on the 8th February 2016 a decree absolute was pronounced in the High Court of Justice Principal Registry of the Family Division dissolving her marriage to Christian Onehirokpeana Oyakhilome,” read a statement issued by the law firm on its website.
“Anita Oyakhilome would like to confirm that she is no longer involved in or part of Christ Embassy AKA Believers loveworld inc.”
In August 2014, TheCable exclusively reported Anita’s allegations against her husband, but the pastor kept mum for more than a week before finally breaking his silence, branding the allegations “crazy” and “stupid”.
“I heard that some media houses – especially in Nigeria – are writing some things against me. All sorts of frivolous charges, that’s crazy,” he said on September 8 during the monthly global communion service of the church.
“You have to understand something about a man of God. A man of God is not just someone who worships God or preaches God. A man of God is handpicked by God, set on course by God. If you study the scriptures, you will not find one man of God go against God, sinning against God.
“The only things you might find will be a man of God, maybe in two different kinds of ways. Moses, for example; when he struck the rock twice, [he] was provoked by the anger of the people. [It was] not because he wanted to do something against the Lord. No man of God does something against the Lord.
“Are you hearing me? A man of God is set on a course; there is a type of life that he is given. Then you have a young man, a young prophet; he wasn’t named; he was deceived by another man of God and so he went in a direction that God said ‘don’t go’.
“That is the only kind of thing you find about a man of God when he misses the message of God or he acts beyond what God said. But a man of God settles himself in the fight against the world… like those writing those stupid things about me, that I did this and I did that.
“You don’t know who a man of God is. I don’t go in that direction. I wasn’t accused of the things you said, nor did I commit those stupid things that you said and I don’t need to go into that level in such discussions. Jesus Christ was accused by many – a lot of frivolous charges. There will always be those who would like for it to be true. But you know, in spite of the accusations against Jesus, It didn’t change who he was. It didn’t change him.
“There are preachers and there are men of God. I am not a preacher; I am a man of God and I go in the way I’m asked to go. It may cause some troubles with individuals but that’s not because I have done something wrong and when it comes to Reverend Anita, what I will say to you is ‘pray for her’.
“Don’t act like those people. If you are married to a man of God, it doesn’t make you automatically mature. You can make mistakes; you can do something that is wrong. But some people expect the wife of a minister to definitely be at the level of that minister and so they may be looked upon and the expectation may be like that, but it’s a positional thing.
“If a man of God is married, it doesn’t automatically mean that the wife of a man of God is therefore a woman of God. That’s not the way it is in the Bible. That’s why you don’t really find the wives of men of God mentioned in the Bible. How many of them? Who was Peter’s wife, did you ever know her name? You never find that out. Who was John’s wife? Did you ever read the name? What about all the other Apostles? How many of their names are written in the Bible. You never find their names.”
Hints that the troubled marriage had broken down first emerged in 2014 when Anita stopped ministering at the London headquarters, which she presides over along with other churches in Europe.
She also stopped contributing to Rhapsody of Realities, the highly successful Christian daily devotional, which is sold around the world and is a major source of income for the couple.
The daily devotional co-authored by the couple, Rhapsodies of Reality, is distributed globally, written in 550 languages, distributed in 242 countries and read by 100 million people across the world, as at 2014.
Much was read into the removal of Anita’s name from the devotional after the news of the divorce proceedings went public.
A member of the church in the UK told TheCable that Anita was complaining that retaining her picture and profile in the booklet was creating the wrong impression that she was still contributing to it.
TheCable was told back in 2015 that the UK Central Family Court had given Oyakhilome and his wife the final go-ahead to end their marriage. The family court, in issuing the “decree nissi”, could not issue the “decree absolute” because of the massive alimony involved which is outside of its jurisdiction. The assets to be shared between the couple are estimated at millions of pounds.
A ‘decree nisi’ is a document of ‘no objection’ from the court while a ‘decree absolute’ is the final legal pronouncement of the dissolution of the marriage. Oyakhilome is the founder of Christ Embassy Church, one of Nigeria’s biggest denominations, and is also a popular televangelist. He is the president of Believers’ Love World Inc, the registered name of the Christian ministry, while his wife is the vice-president.
The dissolved wedding is approximately half-a-decade old, and is blessed with two girls – Charlyn and Sharon.