London street preacher speaks out after arrest, says ‘God has been so faithful’
Article By Alexis Johnson // EEW Magazine
When EEW Magazine reported that Nigerian street preacher, Oluwole Ilesanmi, was arrested in London for sharing the Gospel, many who read the story were furious.
Now that he has been released from custody for allegedly “breaching the peace” on Feb. 23, Ilesanmi is speaking out.
“The police came on the scene and yanked me away,” explained the preacher in a video produced and released by UK anti-persecution watchdog group, Christian Concern. “I was taken out of the vicinity into a very remote place, thinking I would not even be able to get back.”
According to Metropolitan police authorities, the peaceful preacher did nothing wrong and has since been “de-arrested” without any charges being filed.
Ilesanmi said he had no money and was originally left by officers in a neighborhood unknown to him, but “God raised for me people in the streets that could be of assistance.”
By the grace of God, the unfairly accosted evangelist said he found his way back to Southgate Tube Station in North London and “started preaching again the word of God.”
The video of Ilesanmi’s arrest, shared by EEW Magazine and numerous other major outlets, sparked global debate and cries for his release.
“My appreciation goes to everybody all over the world,” Ilesanmi said, adding, “I am well, I am okay. No evil, as the Word has said, will come near my dwelling. God has been so faithful.”
The Christian Legal Center, part of Christian Concern, which advocates on behalf of individuals persecuted for their faith, told Faithwire, they would be circulating a “petition to the government calling for greater protection for Christian street preachers in the UK from the police.”
Andrea Williams chief executive of Christian Concern, said, "Street preaching in the UK has a long, storied history. Open air preaching is the only way to guarantee that all the public is given the opportunity to respond to the love of Jesus Christ.”
She added, “But despite laws that theoretically support the freedom to preach in public, in practice, police officers are quick to silence preachers after any suggestion (often false) of Islamophobia or homophobia. This is not only unjust, but chills free speech through self-censorship. “
In a video of the encounter, officers force the passionate yet peaceful exhorter to stop before taking him into custody.
“What are you doing here?” the officer asked the older gentleman near Southgate Underground station in London.
“I am preaching,” he said.
“I am going to require you to go away,” the officer rebutted.
“Never,” the man refused.
“Well then, then I will arrest you for a breach of peace,” the officer told him.
“What breach of peace?” asked the man, confused.
“It’s what you’re doing at the moment,” the officer said, explaining. “You’re causing problems. You’re disturbing people’s days, and you’re breaching their peace. If you won’t go away voluntarily, we will have to arrest you.”
The preacher doubled down, answering, “I will not go away because I need to tell them the truth because Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life.”
The officer said, “But nobody wants to listen to that. They want you to go away.” He handcuffed the man, and another officer snatched the Bible out of the preacher’s hands.
“Don’t take my Bible away!” the man cried out.
Many called upon police to apologize.
To support the effort to protect the rights of street preachers like Ilesanmi, click here.