In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 19th, September, 2020

Normal Overseer Of Nigerian Church Lands In Hassle Over Marriage To Underage Lady In Lagos

General Overseer Of Nigerian Church Lands In Trouble Over Marriage To Underage Girl In Lagos

General Overseer marriage

It was purported to be a marriage made in heaven and manifested on earth between the Presiding Bishop of Spirit of Grace Ministry in Idi Oro, Mushin space of Lagos, Stephanus Enofe and Confidence Ukandu earlier than a passerby realized that the bride might be a minor. Pictures of the couple and a replica of their marriage ceremony invitation card have been promptly shared on social media.

This led to an uproar on the social media with Nigerians calling the police to cease Confidence whom they claimed is 15 from getting married to Bishop Enofe who’s 45.

Appearing on a petition submitted by Advocates for Kids and Weak Individuals Community (ACVPN), policemen hooked up to State Felony Investigation Division, Panti, arrested Bishop Enofe on September 9. He was arrested alongside the dad and mom of the bride, Joseph and Stella Ukandu, who have been accused of conspiring with the Bishop to marry off their daughter once they knew that she was under-aged. It was gathered that each households had organized an elaborate conventional marriage ceremony at their village in Igbere space of Abia State and the church solemnization was to happen on September 12 earlier than they have been arrested.

In response to a police supply, Confidence had throughout interrogation claimed that she consented to the wedding. She is a chorister within the church and the Bishop approached her searching for for her hand in marriage. She agreed however insisted that the correct factor should be accomplished. This was how they ended up within the village the place the normal marriage ceremony was accomplished.

Confirming the arrest, the state police spokesman, SP Olumuyiwa Adejobi mentioned that the command acted on a petition by a involved individual who alleged that the Bishop married a minor. The matter was transferred to the State CID, Panti. “If after investigation and it’s confirmed that they’re culpable, they are going to be charged to courtroom. Each dad and mom of the suspected minor have been additionally arrested as a result of they have been accused of conspiring with the bishop and if true, that’s in opposition to the wedding act of Lagos State.”

I used to be informed that she is 19, not 15-years-old -Bishop

On the police station, Bishop Enofe who was all smiles informed Saturday Solar that he doesn’t perceive why he needs to be detained over his relationship with a 19-years-old lady.

“I’m from Oredo in Edo State and a Bachelor’s diploma holder in Worldwide Relations from the Lagos State College. I’ve been the Bishop of my church for 15 good years.

“Years in the past, I had points with my first spouse who, because of the doctrines of the church determined to run away from house. She didn’t consider in taking Holy Communion, toes washing and anointing oil and all these are my foundations. She left three years in the past. We pleaded, begged her, requested her to return, she refused. The church board, executives went to beg her, beg even her dad and mom, all to no avail. It obtained to a time that the church board mentioned as a Bishop, I’ve to take a spouse so I don’t take pleasure in any type of unrighteousness. This occurred in 2017 and I’m but to divorce her as a result of it’s in opposition to my doctrine. My relations deliberate to do it on my behalf earlier than the white marriage ceremony will happen.

“The Bible says that if a lady leaves and also you attempt to beg her to come back again and he or she refuses, the Bible says in that 1 Corinthians 7:15, let her depart that the brother was not in bondage. Furthermore, the Bible says that it’s higher to marry than to burn. If a lady says she’s not coming again, a person should not be in immorality. I by no means proposed to every other girl earlier than then until I obtained conviction from the Holy Spirit that Confidence is the correct one for me.

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“I made my first strategy to Miss Confidence who made me know that she’s 18-years-old as at late final 12 months. She mentioned she wasn’t and that I ought to give her time to wish about it. Glory to God, early this 12 months, she mentioned she had a revelation, a conviction that God mentioned she ought to go forward with the connection. I informed her we’d take it step-by-step as a result of she’s nonetheless in SS2. I personally love schooling a lot, the place of somebody who needs to be a Bishop’s spouse is a really highly effective one.

“I consider that schooling is a steady factor; I additionally consider that for those who love any lady you could educate her effectively. If a lady isn’t educated, you’re going to have silly youngsters; a lady is the custodian of schooling so far as the house is worried.”

The Bishop mentioned he made the strategy formal by assembly with the father of the bride. “I informed him that we must always make it formal as a result of if I’m not quick sufficient, another person could make that strategy and say that I didn’t are available in time. He mentioned she was nonetheless education. He additionally went to pray and he was satisfied. We went additional by having an elaborate introduction on August 26, at Abia State the place the village of the woman is located. We purchased wine, drinks and even went so far as shopping for a goat to make it as elaborate appropriately. The entire villages of Igbere, Ohumola in Bende Native Authorities Space of Abia State have been excited.

“Again in Lagos, I used to be planning a get-together which was to carry on September 12 once I acquired an invite by policemen at Alakara Police Station. This was how I ended up in SCID Panti and was accused of getting married to an underaged woman. I used to be shocked as a result of the woman that I obtained engaged to informed me that she is 19. And if she’s 19, I don’t see the place I’ve gone incorrect,” he narrated.

He insisted that the story within the media that he has been together with her earlier than now’s false. “There was nothing like that. I’ve by no means had any sexual contact with Confidence as a result of we consider in non secular sanctity, we consider within the phrase of God and the way it follows so far as relationship is worried. We consider that till you’re married, you’re nonetheless single no matter the wedding rites accomplished. The truth that we had an elaborate introduction didn’t give room for foreplay to not speak of intercourse.

“My home is beside the church, and Miss Confidence is concerned in a lot of church actions. So, possibly as a result of they’re seeing her within the church environment, they really feel she’s already dwelling in the home with me. Her father was solely anxious about her schooling. The primary day I took drink to him to let him know my intentions, his response was ‘Holy Spirit, you’re an exquisite God!’, that he noticed this in a dream. He gave his consent virtually instantly. And there was no cash given for no matter goal as a result of there was no want for any of such. Most importantly I had no plans to marry her till she graduates from secondary college. I solely obtained engaged to her in order that one other man is not going to snatch her away.”

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Mother and father weigh in

Making an attempt to defend their motion, each dad and mom insist that their daughter Confidence is 19. Her father Joseph Ukandu, lamented that he finds it obscure why individuals are lowering the age of his youngster who was born on January 7, 2001 in Mushin, Lagos State. He mentioned his daughter had introduced the Bishop as a suitor and after a number of discussions, had defined to the Bishop why he needs his daughter to full her schooling earlier than marriage. “Bishop then informed me that he’s not right here to cease my daughter’s schooling, that he’s the one to profit extra from my daughter’s literacy as a result of he wants somebody who’s educated to assist him in ministry. I referred to as my daughter and defined to her why I need her to finish her schooling is as a result of I’m not educated and I need all my youngsters to go to high school. She informed me that she introduced the person as a result of Idi-Oro is a ghetto and he or she wouldn’t need to misbehave and convey disgrace to the household and since somebody spoke with her as regards marriage, she determined to deliver him to me first.”

Joseph mentioned when he spoke with the Bishop and found that he’s extra educated than he’s, he consulted elders who interviewed the Bishop for days and concluded that because it was simply an introduction, the Bishop can go forward whereas all different marriage plans have been to be placed on maintain until the bride-to-be, who’s in SS2 completes her schooling. “The elders informed me that they produce other folks within the village who must be contacted earlier than the Bishop can go to the village and when this was accomplished, I took him to our village for the introduction and he was accepted. There was by no means a time I kicked in opposition to the wedding.”

On her half, 35-year-old Esther Ukandu, the mom of the bride, mentioned all she is aware of is that the Bishop is a pastor who mentioned he was in her daughter and he or she alongside her husband already agreed to it. “Simply as my husband had mentioned, we went to the elders, thought-about it and agreed to it.”

Mrs. Ukandu who had been attending the church for the previous eight years together with her daughter claimed that Miss Confidence is a choir member within the church and was there when the primary spouse of the Bishop left.

“The spouse simply all of a sudden left. Bishop travelled to Israel and earlier than he may come again, she left. All people had gone to beg her and he or she refused.” The mom of the bride mentioned her daughter will marry the Bishop no matter the current challenges as a result of Confidence informed her she’s satisfied that marrying the Bishop will likely be successful.

They’re mendacity – NGO  

Countering their explanations, Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile of the Advocate for Kids and Weak Individuals’s Community (ACVPN), who drew the consideration of the police to the matter, alleged that the white marriage ceremony was supposed to carry on September 12 however because the NGO intervened, the father of the bride turned skeptical and the wedding plans have been placed on maintain. “If we had relaxed, the marriage may need held. Already, the woman has moved into the Bishop’s home, dwelling as husband and spouse and he or she’s too younger. The Bishop informed us that he was married earlier than however he informed us that he travelled to Israel and earlier than he got here again, his spouse had moved out however we all know it’s a lie. The story we gathered is that the girl left angrily as a result of she suspected him of infidelity. All efforts to deliver her again have been all in futility.”

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He added that the daddy of the woman, Joseph Ukandu, confessed that he didn’t actually give consent to the wedding however due to strain and as a result of the truth that his spouse was wholeheartedly concerned, he needed to give in.

“We even learnt that their Eze in Lagos issued a communiqué, marriage certificates to the Bishop and the woman. The Bishop is claiming that the Eze who issued the communique is within the village however what we noticed exhibits that there’s a department in Lagos.”

Omejalile mentioned there are numerous elements but to be unraveled. In accordance to him, it has been alleged that the bride’s father had been abusing her, which made the wedding appear to be a way of escape for the younger lady.

“Some younger girls even came around Confidence, they’re all adults. Two of them are an identical twins, 24. They mentioned that the Bishop has been the one paying their college charges they usually’re all in greater establishments. We requested them why they couldn’t battle in opposition to such, they mentioned they informed the Bishop to not go on with the marriage however he was hell-bent on marrying the woman specifically.”

The Bishop, nonetheless, refuted this declare stating that he doesn’t have anybody who he sponsors in greater establishment. He, nonetheless, mentioned he may give a waiver in class charges for these in his major college.

Neighbours react

When Saturday Solar paid a go to to the realm the place the church is positioned, folks within the neighbourhood mentioned they have been conscious of what occurred and revealed that there was no service held within the church since the incident occurred. One of many folks working within the Church’s major college, SOG Glowing Angels Nursery and Major College, mentioned he is aware of Confidence very effectively and will inform that she wasn’t as younger as some folks declare she was. He mentioned he had a debate with somebody over if she was really 17, 18 and even 19-years-old and believes that Confidence’s small stature is accountable for the issue.

One other resident of the realm, who merely identifies himself as Papa Chinonso mentioned that the Bishop was the architect of his personal misfortune. Papa Chinonso who lives instantly reverse the church mentioned that the Bishop had publicized the marriage an excessive amount of and went so far as hanging a banner with an image of the Bishop carrying the woman in entrance of the church. “To be honest with you, that was what attracted folks’s consideration to it. He was married earlier than and furthermore, he’s not a younger man or somebody who needs to marry for the primary time so why all of the paparazzi?”

He added that the Bishop was incorrect by planning to marry somebody as younger as Confidence who remains to be in her teenagers. “Even when she is 19, she’s nonetheless too younger. He’s a Bishop in spite of everything, he should go and beg his first spouse who he hasn’t divorced. If he marries Confidence now, what will she be saying to church members? The person is a giant man; he should search for somebody who’s extra mature.”

***

Supply: Solar Information

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