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The pastor who was raised from the dead in Nigeria-God only knows!


The pastor who was raised from the dead in Nigeria-God only knows!

Truth or Fiction

The Pastor Who Was Raised From the Dead in Nigeria-Only God knows!



Summary of eRumor:

This widely circulated story is about Nigerian Pastor who was declared dead after an automobile accident.  He was taken to a mortuary and prepared for burial.  His wife, however, felt that God had promised her that such a thing would not happen so she transported the coffin by ambulance to a church were an evangelist was holding meetings and with the expectation that her husband would be raised from the dead.  His body was taken to a room in the church where he started breathing, opened his eyes, sat up, and to the joy of the people at the church, apparently came back from the dead.

The Truth:

This is a story that doesn't have the kind of evidence to satisfy the skeptics but is sincere enough to thrill the believers.

The most commonly circulated version is an article from the website of Christian evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.  It goes into detail about the experience of Nigerian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu.  Bonnke's organization has also released a video documentary of the incident which features interviews with many of the people involved including a doctor, the mortician, Ekechukwu's wife and father, and several pastors who were there when he started showing signs of life again.

The first question that our readers have been asking is whether there is any evidence that this is a hoax, an intentional deception on the part of the pastor, the evangelist, or any of their supporters.  From the accounts of the story, interviews with the participants, the video documentary, and even a researcher who is skeptical about the story, everybody involved is sincere in their belief about Pastor Ekechukwu's experience.  The events happened spontaneously and without apparent planning or collusion.

The key question focuses on whether Ekechukwu truly died.  After he stopped breathing while being transported from a hospital to a doctor's office, he was seen by two doctors, who regarded him as dead, but critics say the examinations were brief and could have overlooked minimal signs of life.  One of the doctors was interviewed in the video and said that he checked both breathing and heart activity with a stethoscope and that Ekechukwu's eyes were fixed and dilated.  He signed the paperwork to send him on to the mortuary.  The mortician is also interviewed in the video and says he regarded Ekechukwu as dead and ready for burial.  Initial versions of the eRumor said the mortician had embalmed the body.  The video carefully avoids that topic and quotes the doctor as saying the pastor was ready to be embalmed.  Leo Igwe, a Nigerian skeptic who is critical of claims of miracles says the mortician told him that he had not done anything to embalm the body.  Igwe also says that he was told by physicians that if Ekechukwu had actually been dead and without embalming, there would have been evidence of that such as abdominal bloating that is not visible in pictures of his body at the time.  The mortician did, however, tell Igwe the fascinating story that the pastor's body was not "allowing" him to sleep at night and that he had heard a chorus of voices singing from the mortuary.  

Apart from the question about whether Ekechukwu actually died, his is a remarkable story.  He was regarded as dead, lay in a coffin in a small mortuary in his father's village for two days with wooden plugs in his nostrils, his coffin was taken to a church because of his wife's belief that he would come back to life, he woke up in the midst of people singing and praying for him, and now has the perspective of a person who has been given a second chance at life.  He also says that while he was counted as among the dead, he had an experience of being escorted by angels to both heaven and hell and being given a message to bring back to tell others.  In the video, he revisits his father's village, the doctor who pronounced him dead, the mortician who tended to him, and sees the coffin in which he lay and some of the grave clothes he wore.

Last updated 8/19/02

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Rigor Mortis Corpse Leaves His Coffin
The Story of Daniel Ekechukwu

Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?  Acts

Within minutes of being lifted into the ambulance Daniel felt himself


This banner headline appeared in the Nigerian newspaper …Was it true, a Divine miracle, or
sensationalist press exaggeration? Jesus did say, “Though one rose from the
dead they would not believe'” Judge for yourself. The evidence and facts are
here without embroidery but on the very spot they stunned critical
journalists and left them speechless.

** Crossing Death’s Path

In the morning of November 30th 2001, Daniel Ekechukwu, the pastor of the
Power Chapel Evangelical Church in Onitsha, with his friend Kingsley Iruka
took a Christmas present of a goat to his father in a village near the town
of Owerri. Daniel drove his 20-year-old Mercedes 230. On the way back home,
traveling down a steep road, the Mercedes brakes failed. Daniel could do
nothing. Gathering speed the vehicle hurtled downhill unstoppable. Its
career, and Daniel’s, ended as it smashed into a stone pillar.

Without a seat belt Daniel was catapulted violently forward. His head hit the
windscreen and the steering wheel and knob punched into his body. Daniel’s
friend Kingsley Iruka, shocked though not badly hurt, turned to Daniel,
hoping all was well. But the sight appalled him. Blood was pouring from
Daniel’s nose from a head injury, and then he began vomiting blood from heavy
internal hemorrhage.

Rescue presently came. Marvelously Daniel held up until he was placed in the
local hospital’s intensive care, or the Nigerian best equivalent of it. His
wife, Nneka was sent for. She found Daniel still alive but only just. He hung
on to life to ask her to have him taken to his family doctor’s hospital in
Owerri.  A very serious mistake. It meant anything but a smooth ride of one
and a half hours.

Within minutes of being lifted into the ambulance Daniel felt himself dying.
He tried to whisper his last words and instructions to Nneka. Especially he
begged her to see the work of their church continued. He also tried to inform
her about one or two church situations she ought to be aware of, but his
speech slurred, became incoherent and stopped as he drifted into

The ambulance driver pushed on however, at full speed, warning sirens
blaring. Reaching the Owerri Regional Hospital they ran in shouting
“Emergency! Emergency.” Daniel’s doctor, however, was not on duty. Instead a
member of the medical staff took charge and checked Daniel’s now limp form.
He turned to them with a sad face. He could only certify that Daniel was
already dead.

His wife Nneka naturally was shocked. But a Bible verse had been ringing in
her mind from Hebrews 11 “Women received their dead raised to life again.”
An irrational conviction seized her. This meant her. She would see Daniel
alive and well again. In what follows Nneka was the key figure.

** Evidence of things Hoped For

The text in Nneka’s head made it impossible for her to accept the plain
evidence that Daniel had gone or allow him to be buried. Her agitation
dictated that something must be done. They hurried to see Daniel’s uncle,
Okoronkwo Emmanuel living near the hospital and asked if he knew where their
own family doctor was. He did not know, but led them to see his own doctor,
Dr. Jossy Anuebunisa at the St. Eunice Clinic. Daniel was taken there and
seeing Nneka’s determination again the doctor checked. He could only confirm
death had taken place. The time registered was 11.30 p.m. of the day of the
car accident.

The doctor then wrote out his report on the decease of his patient and asked
if they wished to have Daniel laid in the clinic’s mortuary. They declined.
Instead they again moved the body to Daniel’s father in the village near
Owerri and from there to the Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary, not far away.
The resident mortician, Mr. Barlington R. Manu, also carried out the normal
checks and by then it was after midnight, one o’clock Saturday morning.

The mortuary having no cold storage facilities, the mortician administered
the usual chemical injection and prepared the body for embalming on the
following morning. With a staff member he laid the body out on a mortuary
slab between two other dead people. Everyone then retired for the night.

** Faith: The Turning Point

Then came the first signs of something strange. The mortician was awakened by
what he called ‘church singing’ coming from the direction of the mortuary.
He got up and went to see what was going on but the singing stopped. He was
puzzled for he found nobody near the building. He went back to bed. Then once
more came the clear sound of music and clapping. Quite sure now it was from
the mortuary itself he got up, went in and looked around. Again the singing
had stopped. Nobody was there but the dead. Very disturbed he went back. Soon
for the third time the music burst forth. This was real. It frightened him.

Almost in panic he drove into the nearby village and roused Daniel’s father.
His son’s body must be removed from the building, he insisted. It was
creating some kind of strange phenomena. The father merely assured the
mortician that “It is because he is a man of God”. At that the dead son was
left where he was, in the mortuary, overnight till morning and all day
Saturday. The mortuary attendants heard no more choir music the rest of the

Meanwhile Daniel’s wife convinced her husband would live again, wanted his
body taken to the church in Onitsha where Reinhard Bonnke was to speak at a
dedication ceremony of the Grace of God Ministries. Daniel’s father, however,
was a Mormon and declared he would decide. He said he would go and “hit him
with the Bible seven times”, and if Daniel did not rise, then Nneka must
accept the fact that he was not going to rise from the dead, and that must
close the matter. He did go and struck the corpse as he said seven times,
with no result whatever.

Nneka, being a Christian, considered a Mormon would not understand. His
performance meant nothing except to put her off. She would not give up. She
pestered her father-in-law. Daniel must be taken to the Bonnke meeting.
Realizing that if he refused thi
s favor, she would remember all her life he
had denied her request on behalf of her husband. Eventually he relented.

On the next day, Sunday, December 2, they went to take the body from the
mortuary. But the mortician was worried about their intentions. To hide the
fact that a body was being taken away as it was, with a one and half hours
drive to Onitsha, as a pretext he dressed the body as for the funeral, placed
it in a coffin and shut the lid. They took Daniel in his coffin and set off.

Arriving at the Onitsha church compound, the State security officer and the
ushers saw them entering with a coffin and ordered them to turn round and
leave immediately. Nneka however was determined. She pleaded and persisted
not only for the coffin to be allowed in the church compound but brought into
the church itself. Seeing her agitation, the State security office checked
that the coffin did contain a body and was not a terrorist trick to plant a
bomb. Finding only a pallid corpse he allowed them to proceed. However the
idea of bringing a coffin or a dead body into a crowded church brought
consternation and upheaval. Finally the Head Bishop’s son Pastor Paul Jr.
sought his father’s permission to get the body into the building, but it
would have to be only into the children’s department. The children were
ushered into the lower hall, and the corpse brought in the upper room and
laid out on a table. The Bishop’s son, Paul, and another pastor on the church
staff, Bathcomery Nkwando, attended to this and found rigor mortis had
stiffened the limbs.

** Life Returns!

Two other staff pastors, Lawrence Onyeka and Luke Ibekwe joined them to guard
the body. Meanwhile Reinhard Bonnke knew nothing of this and was preaching
and praying upstairs in the main auditorium. After a while the pastors
noticed a slight twitching of the stomach of the corpse.

Then the corpse drew a breath, and presently irregular breathing took place
in “short bursts” as they reported. Encouraged, the pastors threw themselves
into powerful petitionary prayer, stripped the body of the mortuary gloves,
socks and shirt and began massage from head to foot, Daniel being as said “as
stiff as an iron rod”. They asked for fans to be brought in to give Daniel
more air to breathe. As this news broke out in the sanctuary above it created
hysterical pandemonium. Then, said Pastor Lawrence, at 5:15 on the Sunday
afternoon, nearly two days after death had taken place, Daniel opened his
eyes, sat up and leaned on Pastor Lawrence.

People began crowding into the hall to see this resurrection man. Pastor
Lawrence was worried Daniel would not have enough oxygen, so he lifted and
carried him into the church sanctuary. Daniel spoke for the first time
“Water. Water.” They gave him sips and then warm tea. To give him a clear
space they seated him on a chair on the platform, where hundreds of people
saw him slowly recovering. He had not yet collected his thoughts and for a
while could not recognize anyone, not even his own son who came up to see his
dad. However, he progressed, and within only hours, during the evening, he
had full consciousness and coherence.

He became a wonder, and crowds besieged his home, so he was taken away to a
secret location for two days of physical re-strengthening. The once-dead man
not only rose from his coffin but the serious injuries, which had brought
about his death, were also healed without the slightest trace.

Reinhard Bonnke meanwhile had left the immediate scene to board a planned
plane flight. Any doubts? Here are some hard facts that won’t go away. For
two days Daniel did not breathe, his heart had stopped beating. It was in a
hot climate, not suspended animation in an ice chamber. He had been injected
with a harsh chemical to keep back mortification. As a corpse he was carted
around for hours, pulled about, and lay in an airless narrow coffin for
hours. He should have had severe brain damage, but he is alive now without
any ill effects.

This is no unsupported claim of bringing someone to life privately, as in a
house. Here was a public event, an open demonstration of revival from death.
If anyone has to be named, it is Nneka. Her incurable faith alone prevented
Daniel’s burial simply to bring him where she was convinced God could bring
him back to life. She regarded Reinhard Bonnke as a man of God and that in
the atmosphere of faith where he ministered this miracle was possible.

The faith of Nneka dictated the whole event and her faith was honored. By
whom? Who honored her faith? If not God, who else?

Report by Robert Murphree and George Canty SOURCE: HREF=”http://www.cfan.org/uk/”http://www.cfan.org/uk/