Men of God all over the world are revered by their congregants, most of who see them as oracles of God, owing to a bloated perception of their saintly nature, devoid of infallible tendencies.
But with the prevailing incidents, this magnified ovation accorded some of them has begun to fizzle in a flickered manner, revealing instead ,their vulnerability to sinful nature, particularly the temptation of women.
The recent allegation by Busola, wife of music star, Timi Dakolo, on how she was allegedly raped by Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of God Assembly, COZA, as a teenager, could be one pointer to this assertion .
The mother of three , in an interview with Y-TV, alleged that the act was done in her parents home, when she came on holiday, as a secondary school student, adding that he made her drink Krest , a soft drink, thereafter. Then, the clergy man in the eye of the storm was still a bachelor and not a Pastor at COZA.
Although Pastor Fatoyinbo, supported by his wife, has denied the allegation. Biodun, his wife said that her husband couldn’t have done such a thing.
At the moment, the clergyman has stepped down , to allow elders of the church investigate the case, with calls for probe into the allegation of rape by Busola and other ladies, among who was Ms. Ese Walter.
Strange as it may sound, such news is not new within the circle of clergy men: be they of the Christian or Muslim religion, either here in Nigeria, or other parts of the world.
For instance , in far away Rome, Italy, a new lay group, Better Church Governance, BCG hired the services of former FBI agent, Mr Philip Scala , to probe the 224 men, who advise Pope Francis (including their sex lives, if any). His particular focus was the 124 who, would succeed the pontiff, should he die.
The reason for this checks stems from the loss of confidence from an enduring scandal over cases of molestation and sometimes rape, of children by priests, with most of the cases allegedly covered up by Bishops, who were accused of posting such erring cleric to other dioceses where they continued the atrocious acts.
Report issued by a grand jury in Pennsylvania ,last year, revealed that Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, by persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it.
The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, said there were several other victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward
One of the catalogs horrific instances of abuse as cited by the report, was that of a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out. It cited another instance of a priest who was allowed to remain in ministry after he allegedly impregnated a teenager and aborted the pregnancy.
The Pennsylvania report, came on the heels of the resignation of former archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, who was accused of sexually abusing young priests and seminarians, as well as minors.
Another report by the grand jury was on a priest who allegedly groomed children for oral sex. It claimed that several sexual abuse allegations pointed to a priest who remained in the Diocese of Greensburg between 1976 and 2002.
Priest abuses five sisters
The report further alleged that one priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Augustine Giella, sexually abused five sisters from the same family, starting around 1982. The priest, according to the report, allegedly collected samples of the young girls’ urine, pubic hair and menstrual blood, adding that during a police raid, these samples were recovered from Giella’s house, along with child pornography. Giella, was consequently, arrested in 1992 and he confessed to his crimes. He died while awaiting trial.
In Florida, a 38-year-old Pastor who calls himself a “prophet” was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl, three years ago. The President of Prophetic Worshipers International Church, as reported in the Sun-Sentinel, was accused of paring the teenager on 36 different occasions. An arrest report by the Police said Strachan had sex with the child in his vehicle in the parking lot at Dillard High School 10 times and that at other times he took her to a hotel.
It further stated that he scared the child into keeping the abuse a secret by having her steal clothes and other personal items from her family for him to use in voodoo rituals.
He was said to have also told the girl that his wife was a cop and had a gun, according to a police report.
Strachan, now 40, is being held in the Broward Main Jail on a single felony count of performing a lewd or lascivious act on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16. His bond as at the time the report was made, was set at $100,000.
His lawyer, Lawrence Hashish, said his client was “completely shocked about” and “completely denies” the act.
A medical exam showed evidence of sexual abuse and the girl’s school records showed tardiness and unexcused absences that matched up with times she was allegedly with Strachan, police said.
The wind of the rape scandal also blew to South Africa , two years ago, when two prophets of the Charis Missionary Ministries Church, led by Apostle Jerry Makananisa , were accused of raping a member of the church on three separate occasions last year.
The victim, according to a publication in Sunday World, opened three cases of rape at the Tembisa Police station, where she claimed that she was first raped by one of the men, when she went to clean the church.
She was quoted as saying: “He phoned me when I was busy cleaning and said he wanted to talk to me. I left my handbag behind and went to his car and we drove off to my room in Tembisa after he insisted we go there.
“When we arrived there, he said there were too many tenants there who would suspect we were having an affair and that would dent his reputation because he was a respected man of God,” she said.
She said he then drove with her to his room in the same town, where he allegedly raped her.
Describing how he allegedly raped her, she said, “When we arrived there, he sat on his bed and I sat on a bucket that was in his room and we started talking about general things.
“He then stood up and pushed me onto his bed, undressed me and raped me once without using a condom. When I tried to scream, he put his hand on my mouth to drown my screams”.
The victim further alleged that the same suspect raped her for the second time at the same room after a few weeks.
“When there, he raped me again and gave me money to buy morning-after pill and to do HIV tests,” she said.
She alleged that the second man raped her in June last year. According to her, “ He told me that there were people who wanted to offer me a job and said we should meet them at a park next to where he lives in Clayville.
“Thereafter, he took me to his house for a meal as he said he was hungry. Despite asking to remain in the car, the prophet insisted I came with him to his room. When I entered the room, I sat on the bed and watched the television, but shortly thereafter,he lifted me from behind and violently pushed me onto the bed and raped me without a condom. He then ordered me to shower and gave me money to buy a morning-after pill”.
After the rape by the second prophet, the victim said she confided in another congregant who encouraged her to talk to Apostle Makananisa and to also open rape cases.
“ I opened the cases but I feel the police are failing me because till date these guys have not been arrested and I fear for my life because they are still roaming the streets,” she said.
Makananisa’s spokesman Freddie Hlongwane confirmed that the apostle encouraged the victim to open the cases. He said Makananisa had previously reprimanded the pair from having love affairs with women in the church.
Rape of four girls
Again, in 2017, a self-proclaimed prophet was arrested for allegedly raping four girls for more than eight months in Burgersdorp, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The victims according to the Police, were ushers in the church.
Police spokes person, Lieutenant-Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe, who confirmed the arrest, said that “ The 32-year-old suspect raped all these victims inside the church on different dates after he invited them one by one to come to the church for prayer and while busy praying, he would attack the victim and rape them. The suspect will appear before Lenyenye Magistrate Court soon on four charges of rape”.
In Houston, former Southern Baptist Pastor , Stephen Bratton, 43, was arrested on charges of child sex abuse. He was accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage family member over the course of two years.
He was charged with one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child.
Anambra State: married woman raped
Back home in Nigeria, the case is not different. Three years ago, a white garment prophet, Pius Okoronkwo, was accused of raping his younger brother’s wife in a farmland in Umuchu town, Aguata local government area of Anambra state. The suspect, who was the founder of Covenant Sabbath Mission Yaweh church, was said to have raped the woman identified as Chinasa Okoronkwo, when she went to farm after, she managed to escape incessant sexual harassment by him.
Report according to Mrs Okoronkwo, had it that the prophet was one of those who sponsored her marriage with his brother. She claimed that shortly after her traditional marriage, Prophet Okoronkwo approached her and told her that he had the responsibility of impregnating her despite the fact that she was married to his brother. She claimed to have turned down his love advances but that he continued to harass her, until he allegedly raped her and threatened to kill her if she revealed the act to anyone.
As if that was not enough, she alleged that the prophet , connived with some people to chase her out of her husband’s house without his consent, apparently to cover his track. As at the time the matter was reported, a Human Rights Awareness Initiative and Road Safety, had taken up the matter, with a petition written on her behalf, to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command.
But the prophet denied the allegations, describing them as a ploy to blackmail him
Another arrested for raping 14 yr-old boy
Six years ago, in Ama-Alim Ngugo in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo, the General Overseer of Jesus Army of Salvation Ministry, Pastor Chukwunonso Okudiover, was arrested for allegedly raping a 14-year-old boy.
The victim’s ordeal as reported, began owing to a sharp pain he had in his chest region. He was said to have been invited by the Pastor, who also owned a medicine store. A member of the victim’s family, Francis Ejiekwu, stated that on the victim’s arrival to the prophet’s store, the latter rubbed a liquid substance on the former’s chest, after which he became unconscious.
Explaining, Ejiekwu said, “ the victim told us that by the time he woke up from sleep , he felt sharp pains in his anus , adding that the Pastor abused him sexually while he was unconscious. He further stated that the Pastor confessed to the rape when confronted by youths of the community.
The then Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, Joy Elemoko, confirmed the incident, saying the case had been brought to the command headquarters.
Three pupils fall victims
On Tuesday in Abuja, one Pastor, Emmauel Mathew (50), was arraigned before Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Court over alleged rape of three pupils in his school.
Mathew, who is the General Overseer of The Choice Bible Church, Mpape and proprietor of the Primary school where his victims attended, was arraigned on a six-count charge of rape.
The prosecutor, DSP Stanley Nwodo, told the court that the accused raped two seven-year-olds and a nine-year-old pupil within the school premises, on different occasions.
Nwodo said the offence contravened Section 283 of the Penal Code, which if convicted, would earn the accused a 14-year jail-term, an option of fine or both.
Matthew, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Another allegedly impregnates mother and daughter
The list of men who hide under the guise of Pastors and religious leaders to commit abominable acts is endless. One of them occurred in 2014, in Enugu state, involving a 53-year-old man who claimed to be the Pastor of Ministry of the Holy Trinity in Umudikwere community, Timothy Ngwu.
In this case, he allegedly slept with married women , saying he was acting in according with God’s directive. He allegedly slept with a mother and her daughter and impregnated both of them.
He was arrested for allegedly impregnating married women and young girls in his ministry. During interrogation, he attributed his action on the leading of the Holy Spirit.
A report on him by Crime Guard alleged that his sexual exploits came to lime light when his estranged wife, Veronica Ngwu, who had three children for him, could no longer stomach the continuous harassment. .She reportedly lodged complaint with the Anti- Child Trafficking Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department, Enugu, which led to her husband’s arrest.
The estranged wife reportedly informed the police that she escaped from the ministry with one of her daughters when her husband impregnated her niece and claimed he was obeying the directives of the Holy Spirit and a prophetic revelation. She also informed detectives led by DSP Gloria Udoka that the situation at the Vineyard Ministry of the Holy Trinity was better imagined than seen, alleging that her husband converted married women and single girls to his own and impregnated all of them while pretending to be obeying spiritual directives.
During interrogation, the Pastor allegedly claimed that he had sex with women following directives from the Holy Spirit and with the consent of their husbands. But for the single ladies, he said he carried out the deed through a spiritual directive.
Woman abandons husband, 10 children for Pastor
The Police in Enugu also alluded to the allegations when it issued a statement through the Public Relations Officer, DSP Ebere Amarizu, stating that two women, among others in the enclave of the vineyard, left their husbands to reside with the General Overseer. According to the statement, the two women identified as Calista Omeje and Assumpta Odo, confirmed that they left their husbands to live with the General Overseer on the prophetic injunction to do the will of God. The statement noted that Calista revealed that she had 10 children for her husband but was later impregnated by the General Overseer (Timothy) but that the baby died later. Calista also said that she gave out her daughter to the General Overseer to be impregnated, an act she described as “the fulfillment of the will of God.”
Amarizu noted in the statement that the Pastor said he had five wives with 13 children apart from other concubines who he had, courtesy of the prophetic direction to do the will of God.
“Timothy Ngwu said that Veronica used to be his wife but described her as a falling wife.” He also said, “I do not do anything with any married woman until the full consent and agreement were sought and reached between the husband in line with the directives of the Holy Spirit to do the will of God, which is an act of spirituality.”
In Port Harcourt, the River State Capital, six years ago, one of the Pastors who could not resist sexual temptation was in the news. Many found it hard to believe when the news filtered round, while several others close to him, called him on the phone to ascertain the claim.
But the man at the centre of controversy, Bishop Chibuike Nwabueze ,narrated before journalists, at the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, how he raped a 15-year-old girl, shortly after ministering at Calvary Army Ministry, Rumuoji Eneka in Obio Akpor local government area of he state.
As he spoke in an emotionally laden tone, he fought hard not to betray his emotion by berthing his eye lids intermittently to prevent the tears of regrets from leaving the tear-bags. He started that while relaxing after the ministration, the girl came for deliverance but that while praying for her, she started removing her dress and that before he could restrain her, he found himself on top of her.
He said, “I was surprised when I saw her pulling off her blouse and skirt. But, before I knew it, I had carnal knowledge of her. That is the truth of the matter.”His head suddenly dropped after the confession.
She hypnotized me
According to him, when he realised he had sinned against God, he called some junior pastors to tell them what he had done and requested to be prayed for. Pastor Nwabueze, said he took a second look at the little girl who probably was still lying nude and waiting for a second round but that what he saw pissed him off.
He said, “She started laughing at me. She said ‘are you angry?’ I told her that I did not know she had hypnotised me. She said I should not bother,”.
“I was so angry and annoyed that I called some of my pastors and made a confession, that I did not know what was happening. It is not true that I raped the girl. I also did not procure abortion on her. It was her father that did it but I paid the bills.
“I was set up by my enemies. I have so many people who are my enemies. The man in-charge of where I went to minister is my enemy. He is the person that set me up. He invited me to his church for a programme, claiming to be my friend. After the programme, he set me up because of the tussle over the chairmanship of the communion”.
The then Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Rivers SCID, Mr Samuel Okaula, who paraded the Bishop and a male nurse who allegedly facilitated the abortion, advised people be conscious of worship centres. He said Nwabueze would be arraigned before the court to serve as a deterrent.
Pastor rapes infects minors with HIV
One of the most pathetic cases of rape by clergy men occurred in Ejigbo area of Lagos, three months ago. In this case, the General Overseer of Jesus Intervention Household Ministry, Rev Prince Ezuma Chizemdere, was arrested for allegedly having anal sex with some teenage boys in the area .
As if that was not enough, some of his victims, were infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, in the process.
The suspect, who was arrested by policemen attached to Ejigbo division, was alleged to have been taking teenage boys, between 15 and 16 years , to his apartment, where he penetrated them through the anus, at the end of which he would give each of them N2,000. . But the bubble burst after one of the boys reported to his parents, who subsequently contacted the police.
As at the time his atrocity came to limelight, one of his victims, 16-year-old Anthony (surname withheld as he is still a teenager), who was discovered to have been infected with HIV, had begun treatment.
Crime Guard gathered that his wife packed out of the house when she discovered what he was into. After much entreaties from her husband, church members and both families, she returned home, only to pack out again on discovering that her husband was HIV positive. But she passed on, few months after, leaving behind two children.
During interrogation, the suspect admitted culpability, begging to be forgiven. He said: “This is the work of evil spirit, with the aim to destroy me because I have genuine gifts from God. Whenever the evil force comes on me, I would be helpless, until I have accomplished its mission.”
Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, DSP Elkana Bala, who confirmed the arrest, said: “ The Pastor has been at large for about three months. On March 22, 2009, at about 1 am, Police laid siege to his apartment based on information gathered that he often sneaked into the house through the back entrance. “When he discovered that Police had cordoned his house, he hid himself in the ceiling for two hours before he was arrested. “Investigation has it that Reverend Pastor Prince Ezuma brought in about 15 boys into his apartment where he forcefully penetrated them, through the anus. Some residents revealed that the reverend usually washed six bed sheets daily whenever he brings in little children, suspected to be his sex partners.”
Orphan raped, impregnated by Pastor
From the north to the south and the East to the West, the story is the same. Last month , a 48-year-old Pastor, at the Gwarinpa branch of the Mountain of Fire Miracle Church, MFM in Abuja, was arrested by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), over alleged rape and sexual exploitation of a 16-year-old orphan.
NAPTIP’s Head, Press and Public Relations Unit, Stella Nezan, who made the disclosure, alleged that the victim was impregnated in the process.
Like some previous culprits, the Pastor, according to her, volunteered to provide shelter for the girl and deliver her from an evil spirit after she was accused of witchcraft, only to take advantage of the situation.
She said, “”The victim, a JSS 2 student of one of the government schools in Abuja, suddenly dropped out of school and was in dire need of accommodation shortly after the death of her parents in 2018. Investigation revealed that the Pastor was living with his daughter in the same compound with the victim’s deceased parents in Karmo, a suburb of Abuja, and volunteered to assist her in her education.
“According to the victim, after the first year of their living together, the pastor started making love advances toward her, an action she constantly resisted. She narrated that the first time the pastor raped her was in March, after her birthday outing,” Nezan said. She added that the pastor continued to rape her until it resulted in pregnancy.
“During interrogation, the pastor confessed to sexually abusing the girl only twice and attributed the evil act to the devil,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli, has described the action of the suspect as the highest form of wickedness against a fellow human being, promising that the case would be diligently prosecuted in order to secure justice for the victim.
9yr-old girl raped to death
In the Abuja orphan’s case, she lived to narrate her ordeal in the hands of the supposed Pastor turned predator. But same could not be said of nine-year-old Covenant Elijah, who was allegedly raped to death by a prophet, right inside a church premises in Iyana-Era, along the Badagry /Mile –Two expressway.
Covenant, would have been 19-year-old today, had life not been snuffed out of her by the pedophile, who masqueraded as a prophet. The gory sight of the girl in one of the rooms of the church , was not only mind burgling but also ear-tingling, as a teeming sympathetic crowd gathered to behold her lifeless and violated body, in 2008.
Like a lamb to be slaughtered, the innocent girl obediently followed her mother who, out of determination to find a spiritual solution to her strange behaviour, ended up in the claws of the devil himself, thereby sending her to an untimely death with an untold torture and excruciating pains which could only be imagined than described.
Covenant’s unprepared journey to the land of the great beyond started few years after her mother Mrs Arit Bassey, reportedly noticed some strange behaviour in her. Efforts to proffer a lasting solution, saw her taking her daughter from one spiritual home to the other, until she landed at Miracle Deliverance Church International.
Crime Guard investigation revealed that the unsuspecting mother was introduced to the Edo State-born Pastor, Henry Ovotoka, by one Essi, a member of the church, the previous month. The clergy man requested that the child be brought for deliverance with an assurance that all would be well at the end of the spiritual cleansing.
On July 25th 2008, a Friday to be precise, the desperate mother, in the company of Essi, reportedly took the child to the Pastor who immediately started a prayer session.
In an interview with Crime Guard then, Mrs. Bassey said, “After two hours of praying, he stopped and said my daughter was possessed. He asked if Covenant had eaten, I shook my head..
“He said it was even better so that she could start a three day fasting that would usher her to the deliverance proper. He claimed he was acting under the instruction of God.
“Since the Pastor insisted that the prayer and fasting period would be done in the church, I decided to rush home to pack some of my clothes and other perishable things I left outside. But when I got home, it was too late for me to go back”.
Crime Guard learnt that she was unable to make it the next day being July 26th. Then on the third day, with great expectation that all was going to be over, she made for the church to take her daughter but did not see either the Pastor or her daughter.
Being a Sunday, some of the worshipers had started assembling on the open plot of land used as a prayer ground. The perplexed mother narrated: “At that point, I became curious and went to Essi’s house to inquire about the Pastor’s whereabouts. She tried him on his phone but there was no response. All we heard was that the phone was switched off.”
Apprehension set in at that point and she reportedly rushed to Ijaniki police division to alert them of the disappearance of her daughter. A policeman was said to have followed Mrs Bassey, who was weeping and at the same time, praying for the worst not to happen. But the heaven at that moment seemed to be silent, as the rudest shock of her life occurred at the church, when the policeman reportedly broke the wooden door of one of the rooms, only to be thrown off balance by the sight on the floor.
Right on the floor was Covenant Elijah, who could barely be recognized . She was reportedly found stark naked with clot of blood in her virgina, stone dead! The agonizing cries of Mrs Bassey who kept shouting ‘Jesus! rented the air. This alerted some worshipers who also exclaimed in their different dialects and ran out of the room upon sighting the lifeless remains of nine-year-old Convenant. But Pastor Ovotoka was no where to be found. As at the time of writing the piece eleven years ago, the Police were still making frantic efforts to trace him.
Crime Guard reliably gathered that preliminary investigation suggested that the late Covenant died of exhaustive sex while the clot of blood from her virgina indicated forceful and deep penetration. It was also discovered that she took no food during her stay with the self acclaimed man of God.
Muslim clerics too
There were also instances where Muslim clerics otherwise known as Alfa were arrested over alleged cases of rape of minors, especially those who attended Arabic lessons with them.
With these and other clandestine activities by some men of God who are supposed to be spiritual guide to the congregants, one begins to wonder which way to go. But that does not rule out the fact that there are still several other genuine men of God who would not yield to the temptation of Delilah, like Samson, or the nakedness of Bathsheba like David but have made covenant with their eyes like Job, not to look lustfully at young women and have learnt to flee like Joseph, from every appearances of fornication and adultery .