An Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court on Friday sentenced a Lagos bishop, Oluwafeyiropo Daniels, to life imprisonment for raping his 23-year old assistant (name withheld).
Justice Rahman Oshodi also sentenced the embattled bishop of “I Reign Christian Ministry” to three years imprisonment for sexually assaulting a member of his church, aged 19 years.
Oshodi delivered the 324 pages of judgment in two hours.
Oshodi held that prosecution had established the ingredients of rape and sexual assault (count one and three) against the convict, beyond reasonable doubt.
He held that the cleric should spend the rest of his life at the Kirikiri custodial facility, Lagos.
According to him, the evidence of the first prosecution witness was corroborated with that of the third witness.
He, however, discharged and acquitted him of rape (count two) of another survivor (name withheld) on the ground that there was an element of consent.
The judge also discharged and acquitted him of attempted rape (count four) on another member of his church, aged 19-year-old girl, (name withheld).
According to him, the convict who did not have regard for truth, committed the offences by using his dominant character and position as a clergyman.
He said: “Oluwafeyiropo Daniels, I have convicted you of sexually violating two women who were members of your church.
“The first one, you raped ferociously and caused her so much pain.
“The second, you sexually assaulted using your dominant character and position as a clergy.
“These offences are grievous as rape attracts life imprisonment while sexual assault is punishable with three years imprisonment.”
The judge said though the defence counsel, Mr Adebayo Adegbite, urged the court to use its discretion in sentencing, the Lagos State law, however, have mandatory sentence for rape.
“Due to the seriousness and the ferocity of the attack on his victims, accordingly, I sentence you as follows;
“On count one, I sentence you to life imprisonment.
“On count three, I sentence you to three years imprisonment and you shall also serve your term in the maximum security custodial centre where you are currently being held,” he said.
Oshodi said that the sentencing should run concurrently and the name of the convict be registered in the Lagos State Sexual Offences Register.
Earlier, the convict stayed silent when the court asked him if he had anything to say, following his conviction.
The defence counsel, in his allocutus, (plea for mercy) had prayed the court to temper justice with mercy.
Adegbite told the court that the convict was a first time offender with no previous charges.
He said the convict was a bread winner of his family and urged the judge to use his direction in sentencing.
The state prosecution team, led by Mr Babajide Boye, however, urged the court to convict the bishop as charged.
The prosecution had called five witnesses while defence also called five witnesses during trial through whom various documents were tendered in evidence.
Boye submitted that the convict raped his assistant pastor in her home in Ikota Villa Estate, sometimes in June 2020.
He also said that the convict sexually assaulted one of his church members by forcefully sucking and touching her breasts without her consent, sometimes in April 2021 at the church office in Ikeja.
Daniels faced an amended four-count charge bordering on rape, attempted rape and sexual assault which he pleaded not guilty to on April 17 and May 9, 2023, following his arraignment and re-arraignment, respectively.
The offences contravened Section 260 (2) and 263 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.