LOUD WHISPERS: When Will ‘Servants Of God’ Stop Preying On Women And Children?

Five Lessons From The ‘Reverend’ Kingsley Ezeugo Saga

On Friday, February 26th, the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave a ruling in the case of the ‘Reverend’ Kingsley Ezeugo, Founder & General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly. The Supreme Court upheld the rulings of the lower courts and found the ‘Man of God’ guilty of the murder of Ms  Ann Uzoh. He is to die by hanging.

On 2nd August 2006, Mr Kingsley Ezeugo poured petrol over Ms Uzoh, a live-in adherent of his church, and she died a horrible death. It is gratifying to note that after ten long years, justice has finally been done, and the family of Ann Uzoh can now have some closure, even though it will not bring back all they have lost. My concern is that there are far too many ‘Reverend’ Kings out there, with many Annes in their clutches. What are we all prepared to do to save these Annes from a similar fate? The issues I am about to raise here apply to all the major religious faiths. However, since the King case happened in his own version of a Christian church, I am restricting my discussion to the practice of Christianity by certain religious leaders today.

  1. Our religious leaders should prioritise the need to address violence perpetrated against people in their congregation. The majority of cases we get to hear about concern women and children, though we have also heard cases of men used as slaves in the business empires of their leaders and sometimes estranged from their families who get taken over by leaders of the church. ‘Pastor defiles 13 year Old’, ‘How my Pastor raped me’, ‘ How my Pastor had sex with me to drive evil spirits from me’, ‘”It is the work of the devil”, says Pastor who raped 5 year old’, the headlines now seem to be endless. It is not enough for our religious leaders to say ‘This can never happen in my church’. When they adopt that kind of attitude, what happens is that when such a case is indeed reported in their church, they do all they can to cover it up. When confronted with a case of sexual abuse in his church, a famous church proprietor allegedly said,’ What happened to you happened in the house of God, which means God is aware. If it had happened out in the world, it would be very bad, but because it happened in the house of God, it is ok’. Perhaps this particular church leader reads some versions of the Holy Bible not available to the rest of us. 2 Samuel 22:3 reads ‘My God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour. You save me from violence, and I am saved from my enemies’. People go to church to seek refuge in God’s grace and love. They ask for God’s protection from the travails of life, and to be strengthened in the spirit to be able to face all their challenges. When the men and women who God has entrusted with the responsibility of caring for his flock become the abusers, then we have a serious crisis. It would be helpful if religious bodies could develop self-regulation policies to address questions such as ‘How do people become Pastors’? ‘What modalities are in place to deal with complaints from the congregation’? ‘What happens when the leader is the alleged perpetrator?’ ‘We have many progressive, dynamic male and female Christian leaders. They need to break the culture of silence around these issues and speak up more.

 

Full article in Loud Whispers cover final

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

 

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3 Responses to LOUD WHISPERS: When Will ‘Servants Of God’ Stop Preying On Women And Children?

  1. gracie March 23, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I pray that we would learn. Though, I would really love to know if there are set associations that cross check the standards of these churches… And then, who do most founders report to when they want to establish a church. Do we have credibility test, and all… I think we need to really put some structures in place as a body.

    Reply
  2. Tutu March 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Apart from these structures suggested by @gracie. I want Nigerians to also learn! God is not far from us,let us know what scriptures say and stop crawling to these criminals cos of ‘sharp,sharp’miracles. When we stand our ground, Lucifer and his Men would Run off. #great inspiring piece.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: LOUD WHISPERS: Praying Or Preying? - AboveWhispers | AboveWhispers

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