In recent times, many so-called ‘men of God’ have found themselves entangled in sexual assault allegations that subjected them to public scrutiny. While some of these cases have been reported and are in court, others are stories from long ago for which the culprit has not been charged. In this report, SAMUEL ABULUDE examines some of these cases and the drama surrounding them.
This week, Nigeria’s ‘Gucci’ pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo, stepped down as senior pastor of Commonwealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA) following an allegation by Mrs Busola Dakolo that he raped her twice before she turned 18 some 20 years ago.
Busola, who is the wife of a popular musician, Timi Dakolo, narrated her experience with the pastor whom she said was a friend of her family then in Ilorin where she lived at the time. According to the video interview, she lost her virginity to Pastor Fatoyinbo who groomed and raped her twice in a week, first at her parents’ house and the second time on a deserted road.
The celebrity photographer, who has the support of her husband, said she recently just found the confidence to publicly tell her story.
The pastor has denied every allegation by Busola while some members of his congregation have quickly risen to his defence, staging protests and demanding that no one talks about their pastor in that light.
Busola’s allegation is coming six years after the same pastor faced allegations of sexual misconduct and adultery from two women, including a lady called Ese Walters. Though Ese Walters’ accusation was not of rape, she, however, said at the time that she felt abused and manipulated by him during a week-long sexual romp she had with the pastor while they were on a visit to London.
Time will tell if these allegations would result in a lawsuit against the pastor, but in this clime, pastors are as powerful as politicians and often get away with a lot of things.
Chukwuemeka Ezeugo (Rev King)
Lagos pastor, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, popularly known as Rev King, is the General Overseer of Christian Praying Assembly (CPA) Worldwide. The pastor who has been jailed 20 years for a six-count charge of attempted murder and death by hanging for murder and presently on death row, was also during his trial accused of sexually assaulting members of his church.
The pastor was said to have made one of his church members, Susan Chizobar Onuorah, serve him naked in his house for several years. According to the victim, the pastor ordered her never to tell any member of her house that she serves him naked and to convince her that what she was doing was OK, the victim said that the ‘man of God’ gave her a ring to indicate that she was married to him.
After he was accused of raping a 16-year-old female student of his Islamic school, Osun State Muslim cleric, Habeebulah Abdul-Rahman, popularly known as Al-Edewy, quickly announced to the world that the teenager in question was his wife and he had the right to have sexual relations with her. But as far as the teenager and her family members were concerned, there was never a marriage.
What happened was that the cleric took a liking to the girl and actually asked her hand in marriage. She refused his proposal and her family backed her up. That notwithstanding, she continued to go to his Islamic school so that when the cleric asked her mother’s permission that she accompanies him to give a lecture in another state, her mother let her go based on a teacher/student relationship. It was at that journey to Ilaro, in Ogun State, that Abdulrahman, first raped her. According to her, while on their way back to Osun, in Abeokuta, the cleric made a stop at his relatives’ house and while they were there, raped her again.
After the rape, the victim, whose father is late, stopped attending the cleric’s school and her family members were ready to bury the news and never talk about it until her brothers who are not residents of Osun State heard of it and decided to expose it.
In a desperate bid to protect himself, the cleric, according to reports, has mentioned many witnesses to the marriage but, unfortunately for him, all witnesses have denied knowledge of a proper marriage between the teenager and the cleric who already had three wives.
There are also reports that suggests that this is not the first time the Muslim cleric is being accused of rape. It is alleged that in 2014, a father of four, Ishaq Adeoye, sent his children to live with the same cleric and while they were there, his daughter was molested by the cleric.
According to Adeoye, his poor daughter always complained about the man to her mother but they never paid attention, dismissing it as mischievous. It was only after she got married and was found to have been defiled that her husband asked and she told him what she used to complain about to her parents. Adeoye said he confronted the cleric who denied that he had anything to do with the girl.
Al-Edewy has since been picked up by the police, following a petition written by a lawyer, A.A Maisolati, to the state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Ige, on behalf of the victim.
On June 25, this year, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, sentenced one Pastor Princewill, of Mountain Mover Fire Ministry International, Nyanya, to seven years imprisonment for having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl over a period of four months in 2011.
Pastor Princewill was said to have had carnal knowledge of the minor in his church and at his house in Nyanya several times, without her consent. When the girl became pregnant, the pastor attempted to have the girl abort the pregnancy, it was reported.
He was charged to court on four counts of rape, impersonation, attempt to cause abortion and abetting miscarriage. He was consequently convicted on two of the four-count charges brought against him.
Late last month, 43-year-old Abdulsalam Salaudeen, a Muslim cleric, was accused of raping a 5-year-old girl inside a mosque in Lagos State.
In this peculiar case, it was people who suspected something wrong was going on in the mosque that decided to unravel the mystery.
What these concerned citizens did was to plant a hidden camera in the mosque and, true to their suspicions, on December 22, 2018, Salaudeen, who is popularly known and addressed as Alfa of the mosque, was caught defiling the poor girl who was under his tutelage right there in the mosque.
Salaudeen has since been remanded by an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court for the offence, which he pleaded not guilty to. His trial is set for October 14.
Rev Isaac Newton-Wusu
Four months ago, a septuagenarian cleric, Rev Isaac Newton-Wusu, was arraigned before an Ogun State High Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, for allegedly raping some female pupils of the Stephen Centre International School in Abeokuta. Newton-Wusu, the director of the home school, was accused of assaulting and raping some pupils of the school between the ages of 12 and 16.
The cleric was charged with a five count charge of rape and indecent assault.
Not even the founder of The Synagogue Church of All Nations, SCOAN, T.B. Joshua, has been spared the allegation of rape. Following the video accusing Pastor Fatoyinbo of rape last week, a member of T.B. Joshua’s church has come out to claim that she, too, was sexually molested by the cleric for 14 years.
According to Bisola Hephzi-bah Johnson, the general overseer of her church also assaults and molests minors of 8, 11 and 14 years. She encouraged other women, who have suffered the same fate as her in the hands of the cleric, to speak out and be set free like she has been set free.
Members of the church have since reacted to the allegations in a video where they alleged that the lady came to SCOAN for deliverance from the spirit of death and, after some time, she vanished. The church members also revealed that it was not the first time Bisola was making such claims but that she didn’t get the attention she wanted the first time and that was why she came up with her story now, since cleric-related rape is trending.
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