Eight more girls yesterday claimed that the General Overseer (GO) of Tongues of Fire Restoration Ministry, Sogunle, Lagos, Pastor Chukwuma Nkwocha, was sleeping with them. This brought the number of girls allegedly abused by Nkwocha to 10. After the GO was arrested on Tuesday, two of the 30 girls rescued from the church, told the police that the self-acclaimed man of God had carnal knowledge of them while others denied being abused. However, top police officers told our correspondent yesterday that eight other girls had admitted Nkwocha abused them. The girls have been moved to the police Protective Centre at Ikorodu, Lagos.
The victims accused Nkwocha of sleeping with them forcibly in his house. Police sources told our correspondent that the girls were taken to a private hospital to confirm the allegation if they were actually raped by the pastor. “The girls have been taken to the Protective Centre of the State Police Command at Ikorodu, after medical checkup had been conducted on them to ascertain their allegation against the pastor,” one of the officers said.
The GO’s younger brother, Mr. Ikechuwkwu Nkwocha, had said that the man was a nice fellow who only provided the girls accommodation. He said: “My brother is a nice person. When some of these girls come to the church and complain of accommodation, he always comes to their rescue by providing them apartment in his house.”
Ikechuwkwu, however, alleged that it was one of the girls, who the pastor chased away, that petitioned the police, accusing him of trying to rape her. This came as the police in Lagos yesterday bemoaned the surge in domestic violence and sexual assault.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Dolapo Badmos, expressed concern on the development while briefing journalists at the state Secretariat, Alausa, to kick off a monthlong awareness campaign against all forms of domestic and sexual violent crimes. However, Badmos said religious leaders led the pack in the crime.
The PPRO said statistics available to the command showed that there had been an increase in the report of sexual crimes over the past few months. She said the command was working closely with the Office of the state Attorney General and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) to frontally address the issue.
Badmos said from the recent reports and investigation, it was discovered that the major perpetrators of sexual offences were religious leaders hiding under religion to commit heinous crimes.
According to Badmos, a few days ago, about 30 girls were rescued from an acclaimed man of God. She added that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, had already ordered a discreet investigation into the case, while the public would be briefed in due course.
On his part, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, said a detailed research was carried out in February in all prison facilities in Lagos on sex convicts and inmates awaiting trial for Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) cases. He said the campaign against sexual crime should not be left alone to the women folk.
According to him, all hands must be on deck to frontally address scourge. Kazeem said there would be all male walk in the state to curb the crime during the programme tagged: “Promoting Positive Masculinity, Men Can End Sexual and Gender Based Violence.”
According to him, it was carefully selected and centered on the compelling need to ensure men act as flag bearers in the fight against such crimes