In what will come across as a really startling development, three church leaders were re-arraigned at the Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court by the Lagos government on Wednesday.
The defendants are Jacob Farinmade, Abraham Olujobi and Olatunde Taiwo.
They were in charge of the Celestial Church of Christ Gospel Mission at No. 15/23 Pipeline Street in Ipaja.
Farinmade, Olujobi and Taiwo face an eight-count charge of rape and abuse of corpses of their congregants.
The trio pleaded ‘not guilty” to three charges of conspiracy and misconduct regarding the lifeless bodies.
Farinmade pleaded “not guilty” to five counts bordering on rape, unlawful detention and unlawful burial in a house.
The prosecutor, Olusola Soneye said sometime in 2015, they cut open the corpse of Deborah Elijah to separate her from her foetus prior to burial.
“They treated the corpse of one Olubunmi Saliu in an undignified manner by burying her in a shallow grave in the church premises,” he told the court.
Soneye added that Farinmade, the then reverend in charge of the church, raped three women (names withheld) and unlawfully detained one of the women.
“Farinmade also authorised the burial of Deborah Elijah in an adjourning land at the Celestial Church Gospel Mission without the relevant consent of the Local Government Authority,” the prosecutor added.
The offences violated Sections 144, 165, 260 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015. A total of 13 witnesses will testify against the clerics.
Justice Abiola Soladoye sent them back to the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Center and adjourned hearing until December 16.