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How ‘Cele’ prophets disemboweled women, buried them in church premises

“The defendants sometime in 2015, indecently cut open the corpse of Deborah Elijah for the purpose of separating her from her foetus prior to burial. “They also treated the corpse of one Olubunmi Saliu in an undignified manner by burying her in a shallow grave in the church premises.”-Prosecutor

It was a most bizarre moment at Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court on Wednesday as Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) arraigned three prophets of the Celestial Church of Christ over disembowelment of the corpses of pregnant women and burying their corpses within their church premises. 

Jacob Farinmade, Abraham Olujobi, and Olatunde Taiwo were arraigned before Justice Abiola Soladoye on an eight count charge of rape, and indecent treatment of corpses. The three pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The three prophets were in charge of the Celestial Church of Christ, No. 15/23 Pipeline Street, Ipaja, Lagos.

Part of the offences preferred against them is rape, particularly on Farinmade, the prophet in charge. He however pleaded not guilty to five charges of rape, unlawful detention and unlawful burial in a house.

But the lead State Prosecutor, Mr. Olusola Soneye argued that the defendants actually committed the offences. “The defendants sometime in 2015, indecently cut open the corpse of Deborah Elijah for the purpose of separating her from her foetus prior to burial. They also treated the corpse of one Olubunmi Saliu in an undignified manner by burying her in a shallow grave in the church premises.”

Stating further, Soneye said that Farinmade while being the Reverend in charge of the church, raped three women (names withheld) and unlawfully detained one of the women.

He also said that Farinmade 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.

Citing the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015, Soneye argued that the offences contravene Sections 144, 165, 260 and 411.

He informed the court that 13 witnesses are set to testify against the clerics on behalf of the prosecution. 

Justice Soladoye ordered that the clerics continue to be remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Center and adjourned the case until December 16 for trial.

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