The Lagos State Government, on Wednesday, re-arraigned three clerics in an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offence Court on an eight-count of rape and abuse of corpses of their congregants.
The accused persons — Jacob Farinmade, Abraham Olujobi, and Olatunde Taiwo — all pleaded not guilty to three charges of conspiracy and misconduct with regards to a corpse, NAN reports.
Farinmade pleaded not guilty to five counts bordering on rape, unlawful detention, and unlawful burial in a house.
The prosecutor, Olusola Soneye, said the defendants, who were in charge of the Celestial Church of Christ Gospel Mission at No. 15/23 Pipeline Street, Ipaja, Lagos, committed the offense in 2015.
“Sometime in 2015, the defendants indecently cut open the corpse of Deborah Elijah to separate her fetus before burial.
“They treated the corpse of one Olubunmi Saliu in an undignified manner by burying her in a shallow grave in the church premises,” he said.
Soneye said Farinmade, who was the reverend in charge of the church, raped three women (names withheld) and unlawfully detained one of the women.
“Farinmade also authorized the burial of Deborah Elijah in an adjourning land at the Celestial Church Gospel Mission without the relevant consent of the local government authority,” he said.
The offenses contravened Sections 144, 165, 260, and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015. The prosecutor said 13 witnesses are set to testify against the clerics on behalf of the prosecution.
Justice Abiola Soladoye ordered that the clerics be remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre and adjourned the case until December 16 for trial.