A self-acclaimed Bishop, Stephanos Enofe, has been arrested by the operatives of the Lagos State Police Command for defiling and engaging in child-marriage with a Junior Secondary School 2 (JSS2) student, who is 15 years old.
Until his arrest, Onofe was the Bishop and founder of Spirit of God Ministry located at 8, Makinde Street, Mushin, Lagos.
He was arrested after complaint on the illicit act, which was allegedly encouraged by the teenager’s mother.
“SOME CHURCH MEMBERS RAISED EYEBROW ON THE MATTER BUT THE BISHOP COUNTERED THEM. I EVEN LEARNT ONE PERSON WAS SUSPENDED AMONG US BECAUSE OF THIS ISSUE”
Our correspondent, who had investigated the matter before the Bishop’s arrest, gathered that a traditional wedding was conducted between Enofe and the teenager before the Bishop hosted a ‘white wedding’ in his church in Mushin.
A member of the church, who didn’t want his name mentioned, said the wedding generated ripples in the church before it was conducted.
The Church member said, “Some church members raised eyebrow on the matter but the Bishop countered them. I even learnt one person was suspended among us because of this issue.
“Apart from church, some family members are not also pleased with the Bishop, but the mother who is a member, supported it.”
Further findings also revealed that Enofe started defiling the minor since she was 13 years old before he opted for her hands in marriage at 15.
The development, some residents claimed was among the reasons the Bishop’s wife parted ways with him and even moved out of their matrimonial home.
Mr Obi Titus, a resident on Makinde Street, where the teenager had been living with the pastor before the arrest, told our correspondent that the father of the young girl was not in support of the marriage initially until he was persuaded.
“The father was not in support at the beginning, until the mother lured him with an order from their village chiefs. She reported the matter in the village, where the chiefs, after collecting bribe, prevailed on the man,” Titus said.
“I WONDER WHY YOU PEOPLE WILL NOT MIND YOUR BUSINESS. I MARRIED HER WITH THE FAMILY’S CONSENT, SO WHAT IS THIS PROBLEM ABOUT?”
But when contacted on the matter before his arrest, Enofe, claimed he married the teenager with the consent of her family.
“I wonder why you people will not mind your business. I married her with the family’s consent, so what is this problem about? I don’t think I have time for this,” the Bishop had rudely told our correspondent.
A child Rights Advocate, who worked with the police to effect the arrest of the Bishop, Ebenezer Omejalile, said the law would take its course, as child marriage is an offence in law.
Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, Superintendent Muyiwa Adejobi confirmed the development to our correspondent.
Adejobi said, “The Command is aware of the case and the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered that the matter be thoroughly investigated by the SCID Panti
“The order is hinged on the need to promote decency and due enforcement of laws to achieve adequate security for all and sundry.”