General Overseer, Tongue of Fire Restoration Ministry, Chukwuma Nkwocha, is now in the custody of police in Lagos for allegedly camping about 30 young girls as sex slaves.

The 38-year-old Nkwocha, whose church is located at Sogunle area of Lagos metropolis, was accused of sleeping with the young girls, whose ages range from 10 to 15 years.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the arrest of the GO. The PPRO said the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, had ordered investigation into the case. She said: “The command rescued about 30 young girls from the pastor’s custody.

Two of them acknowledged he had canal knowledge of them. However, investigation is ongoing.” Nkwocha, according to investigation, was addressing the congregation on Tuesday evening when policemen from Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) stormed the church. The GO stopped the service when the policemen introduced themselves.

They whisked away the pastor and the girls.

When our correspondent visited the church yesterday, some members of the church looked dejected. They, however, denied that the pastor was sleeping with the girls.

The GO’s younger brother, Mr. Ikechukwu Nkwocha, said he was surprised when someone from the church called him on the phone that the pastor had been arrested for rape.

He said: “We don’t live in the same house; I cannot speak on what I don’t know. It is only God Almighty that knows everything that transpired between my brother and the girls.

“He is such a nice person. When some of the girls come to the church and complain of accommodation, he always comes to their aid by providing them an apartment in his house.

“The pastor is my blood brother. It was God who called him. Even as part of his efforts to alleviate the suffering of some of his church members, he is paying their school fees.

“He also registered some of them for the General Certificate Examination (GCE) and the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC)-conducted Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE).

He is only assisting them; why should they pay him back in this form?” Ikechukwu alleged that one of the girls, who the GO chased out, wrote a petition to the police. He added: “It was the petition which led to the arrest of my brother.

The girl was brought to the church by a member after complaining of accommodation problem to that person. After a while, she started misbehaving in the church; that was why my brother sent her away.”

Ikechukwu also said that the policemen had searched Nkwocha’s house and no incriminating thing was found in his apartment. He said: “I believe it was because she was sent away from the house that made her to write the petition against the man of God.”

A resident, who did not want her name in print, alleged that the pastor used the opportunity of providing the girls accommodation to rape them.

She said: “Bobble burst when one of the girls, Evelyn, who was chased away by the pastor for resisting his advances, reported the matter to the police.

“What we normally observe in the community is that, whenever there is a programme in the church, even on Sundays, girls are usually brought to the church in different commercial buses.”

Another resident, Mr. Taoreed Ajao, said they were tired of the “unruly behaviour” of the pastor in the area. He said: “Whenever they have their vigil in the church, they always increase the volume of their loud speakers which is affecting every resident.

Hardly would a day pass that they would not have a programme in the church. Government should come to our rescue and regulate the activities of the church.”

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