By Sam Eyoboka
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye and controversial On Air Personality, Ifedayo Lucian Olarinde, popularly known as Daddy Freeze, have spoken over the involvement of an ordained Pentecostal pastor in sex-for-favour scandal currently rocking two foremost universities in West Africa—-the University of Lagos in Nigeria (UNILAG) and the University of Ghana in Legon.
A total of four lecturers in the two institutions, Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu and Dr. Samuel Oladipo of the University of Lagos as well as University of Ghana lecturers Professor Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor, who were secretly filmed sexually harassing undercover BBC reporters (in the Sex For Grades documentary), have been suspended pending ongoing investigations.
In the 13-minute video released by the BBC Africa Eye on Monday, Igbenughu, a sub-dean at the Faculty of Arts, UNILAG and the head pastor of Foursquare Gospel Church, was heard in one of the videos telling an undercover reporter who had disguised as a 17-year-old admission seeker to switch off the light so he could kiss her.
Last week, there were reports of indications that the embattled lecturer, who was ordained pastor last year, was so devastated by the BBC report that he was contemplating suicide.
A close friend of his who spoke with our correspondent anonymously, however, said nothing like that happened. Igbeneghu, it was learnt, was being protected by friends and family members so he would not harm himself.
The friend, a Christian, who said he had cause to rejoice with him for rededicating his life to Christ a few months ago, however, confirmed that he was being surrounded by friends and family members, noting that it’s unfortunate he was involved in such shameful act.
According to him, he probably was involved in this immoral act before he finally surrendered his life to God’s pruning and direction.
“I have a feeling that he had that weakness long ago. And I have had cause to rejoice with him when he claimed that he had rededicated his life”, the friend said.
“It is not unlikely that the amorous acts from his end were the days he was battling with the flesh. You will note that the investigation was over a period of nine months and he most likely was still struggling with the flesh all these while”.
Reacting to the development which has provoked the Nigerian Senate to initiate a law to deal with randy lecturers, CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, described the act as despicable, sad.
“We hear that investigation into the matter is ongoing according to a statement by his church and based on that CAN may not be in a position to say anything now”, Vondip said.
“As a legal practitioner, I will not also rush into any conclusion now, but there is need to stress that anybody being anointed to such a high office must endeavour to make himself or herself above board as Apostle Paul warned in his second letter to Timothy.
“I think when any man is being anointed such persons must be properly examined to avoid such embarrassment to the Body of Christ. After the investigation if he found guilty, I expect that he should repent and take some time off to make peace with himself and reconcile with God”.
He stressed that CAN as a body does not have any special punishment for persons who break his oath of office.
“CAN cannot decree any punishment for such persons but on a personal note, there is no way one can say here that if found culpable he would not escape prosecution because the state is involved and the rights of some impressionable Nigerians are at stake too.”
The Foursquare Gospel Church has asked Igbeneghu to step down from all ministerial assignments.
In a statement on Monday, the National Secretary, Ikechukwu Ugbaja, dissociated the church from the lecturer, saying appropriate measures would be taken against him.
“Our belief is based on core biblical truths we call the 22 tenets of faith. We believe in The Holy Scripture, The Plan of Redemption, The Baptism of the Holy Spirit, Moderation, Divine Healing, Heaven, Civil Government and lots of other amazing truths,” another leader in the church stated.
In a reaction, the Senate, on Wednesday, revisited the sexual harassment bill which was sponsored by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and passed by the 8th Senate.
The bill, introduced in the 8th Senate in October 2016, seeks a five-year jail term and five million naira fine for lecturers convicted for sexually harassing male or female students.
According to the bill, an educator will be “guilty of committing an offence of sexual harassment against a student if he/she has sexual intercourse with a student who is less than 18 years of age; has sexual intercourse with a student or demands sex from a student or a prospective student as a condition to study in an institution, or as a condition to the giving of a passing grade or the granting of honour and scholarships.”
The bill prescribes that: “Any person who commits any of the acts specified in Section 4 of this Act is guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years, but not less than two years without any option of a fine”. The reintroduced bill is sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege.
For the first time, Daddy Freeze, the founder of Free The Sheeple Movement of Nigeria, appears to be on the same page with Adeboye, the General Overseer of RCCG, as both pleaded for caution instead of sitting in judgment against the erring lecturers and pushing them to their untimely death. Daddy Freeze, in a reaction, said lecturers’ molesting female students was only half of the narrative, as there were also students offering themselves for marks.
According to him, the pendulum swings both ways, recalling that when he was a student in a Nigerian university, female students used to offer themselves to lecturers for marks.
He wrote on his Instagram page: “Lecturers’ molesting students for marks is only one half of the narrative. What about students that offered themselves to lecturers for marks?
“I know this; I graduated from a Nigerian university. I can still remember quite vividly, the story of this one girl that ‘collected’ a lecturer from another girl and the other girl was left heartbroken. Someone who offers a bribe is as guilty as the person who receives it.
“Dear morally upright Nigerian lecturer, I’m speaking to those who are immune to seduction. I hereby implore you to expose any woman who tries to seduce you for marks; lets ensure they never graduate.
“Let’s address this from both sides. Giving and receiving bribes are both crimes. To qualify to do this you have to be morally upright with a clean track record! Print their text messages, put up their pictures, publish their love notes, get them expelled!”
Writing on Wednesday in the church’s daily devotional, Open Heavens, in a piece titled, ‘Don’t bury them yet!, Adeboye counselled that a brother or sister may err and even fall, but this should not be the end of their Christian journey.
“It’s the responsibility of other members of the family to ensure that such precious souls are brought back to their feet in right standing with God”, the RCCG leader said. “Unfortunately, in these last days, instead of looking out to stabilise the weak and restore the fallen, some so-called brethren sit in judgment against other brethren. Some of them even mastermind the fall of fellow brethren, thereby fulfilling the Lord’s prophecies.
“Some other brethren do not only cause the fall of others but also watch out for faults in their lives in order to crucify them.
“It is sad that brethren bury other brethren who are in spiritual coma, instead of working to revive them to life. We must be like our Master who said in Luke 9:56a: ‘For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them’”.