A self-acclaimed pastor, identified as Prophet Emmanuel (saw name withheld), has allegedly beaten his wife to coma and broken her leg. The prophet also reportedly chained his son within the premises church at Berger area of the Lagos metropolis. Emmanuel was arrested by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) and later handed over to the police at Surulere Police Station.
According to DSVRT officials, at the time of his arrest, the prophet, who claimed to possess healing powers, also have 32 other church members in chains. They were said to have come for spiritual/mental healing. It was gathered that Emmanuel had a misunderstanding with his wife which made him beat her.
He broke her leg in the process. Speaking on the incident, the DSVRT Coordinator, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, described the incident as ridiculous and unlawful. Vivour-Adeniyi said the state government would not condone domestic violence and urged the victims of sexual and gender-based violence to speak out.
According to her, the government is ready to fight all such causes and ensure justice is done. She said: “The prophet who lives at … Close Unity Estate, Imodium, Berger, Lagos, beat his wife, Funke, and broke her leg. He also beat his two sons and chained one of the sons while one of them ran away from the house. “He claims to be a prophet with healing powers.
All incidents took place in his church. There were 32 people in chains whom he claimed were being treated for mental illness. Information was received through the Lagos State distress call service.” Vivour-Adeniyi added that the team would ensure justice in the matter.
However, there was a dramatic twist to the case yesterday when senior police officer handling the case at Surulere Police Station said the man had been released based on the denial of the wife and his sons, who did not want their father to be jailed for domestic violence.
The officer, who pleaded anonymity, said: “The woman came to us and denied being attacked. Truly, her leg was broken and there were scars on her face, which showed that she was truly attacked. But we ran into difficulties when the woman denied that she was not beaten by her husband.
“She said she had an accident and even her children too denied being beaten. We saw some scars on some of them which showed that they were also flogged. But they all told us different stories and you know when the principal witnesses are denying that, we won’t have evidence in court to substantiate our case.
“Of course there were evidences of scars, broken leg, but they all denied that. There were about 32 other persons in chain, who he claimed are mentally ill. When people voluntarily go to a place and on the grounds that they are spiritually or mentally ill, what can we do?” The state government inaugurated DSVRT in September 2014 as a response to the increase in incidents of rape, defilement, domestic violence, child abuse, neglect and maltreatment.
Last month, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode met with the team. He charged DSVRT to go all out and increase victim safety and offender responsibility by providing a cross jurisdictional response that is uniform in approach in the way Sexual and Gender Based Violence cases are handled in the state.