Police were called to an angry confrontation in Croydon on Saturday between members of a controversial church and a group of demonstrators who claimed they were ‘victims’ of the organisation.
Shouting and pushing broke out between pastors and followers from the SPAC Nation church and the group calling itself ‘Let The Youngers Go’ – led by former church members and gospel drill musician Tkay ‘Madmax’ Mukuna – near East Croydon station.
“They were acting like gangsters” said Faisal Mudde, 28, from Croydon and part of the LTYG group, describing the clashes, which followed a march by the group through town centre. “We were coming to eat and saw some of the pastors… there was a lot of shouting and pushing but no punching”.
SPAC Nation ‘ambassador’ Elijah M alleged via Twitter that he was “attacked” by Mukuna and “his violent team members” who were “punching me in my face and reaching for knives.” Assistant Pastor Samuel Akokhia also became involved in the confrontation with Mukuna.
Police escorted the SPAC Nation group away from the scene before searching Mukuna for a knife. He said of the search: “my thing is if you’re going to search me you have to search them too”. Police did not find any weapons.
‘Let the Youngers Go’, a group made up of self-described ‘victims’ of the church and their supporters, had marched through the city centre to spread awareness of what they view as the dangers of SPAC Nation to young people.
The group shouted slogans, including: ‘SPAC Nation is a scam!’ They shared stories of the distress caused to many by their involvement in the controversial organisation.
March organiser, Parris Roser, 23, from Barnet, told Eastlondonlines that a protest march had been discussed for weeks, but now the “controversy on social media has become quite large” the time felt right.
“We are campaigning for everyone to be let go, for them to be freed, for their debts to be cleared,” she said, to explain the slogan ‘Let The Youngers Go.’
“It’s a trap in the sense of once you’re there you can’t leave, so we’re trying to make as much noise and awareness as possible to say it’s ok to come out.”
“There’s a lot of young people whose credit scores have been affected by being in SPAC Nation. So we strongly advise that the police do investigate,” she said.
The Huffington Post recently claimed that young people who joined SPAC Nation were running up debts of £5,000 to £20,000 and were being pressured to hand over their student loans.
The Charity Commission is also making urgent inquiries over their involvement in the Fairfield by-election. Charities are not allowed to campaign for political parties.
Mukuna joined SPAC Nation in 2018 and stayed for 10 months. “I’m the reason why a lot of people came to the church, because of my songs” he said. Mukuna was making drill music when he was recruited as a way to reach out to young people.
In October 2018, he released the song ‘Trap Mash’ as part of the group ‘Hope Dealers’ affiliated with SPAC Nation. The gospel drill track racked up two million views on Youtube and depicts young people gesturing with bibles as guns. Mukuna raps the line “I ain’t tryna put him in a hearse. Grab them souls in a Church.”
After 10 months in the Church, Mukuna started to have disagreements with lead Pastor Tobi Adegboyega about the lyrics in his songs. Around this time, Mukuna says he wanted to leave, but “I just didn’t know how to.” ” Since I came out, people were scared before but now that they’ve seen me speak out, they’re coming out top.”
“They come recruiting round here, getting people into the church, they will target young people, single mothers, ones that they can use to take out loans. I’m here to let people know that if they see these people, stay away from them.”
SPAC Nation, Samuel Akokhia, and Elijah M did not respond to requests for comment.