Three clerics were on Wednesday re-arraigned in an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court by the Lagos State Government on an eight-count charge of rape and abuse of corpses of their congregants.
Jacob Farinmade, Abraham Olujobi and Olatunde Taiwo plead not guilty to three charges of conspiracy and misconduct with regards to a corpse.
While Farinmade pleaded not guilty to five counts bordering rape, unlawful detention and unlawful burial in a house.
The Leas State 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 offences in 2015 in Lagos.
“The defendants sometime in 2015, indecently cut open the corpse of Deborah Elijah for the purpose of separating her from her fetus prior to 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.
Mr Soneye said that Mr Farinmade while being the reverend in charge of the church, raped three women (names withheld) and unlawfully detained one of the women.
“Farinmade also 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,” he said.
The offences contravene 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 continue to be remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Center and adjourned the case until Dec. 16 for trial.