By Chika Otuchikere
Ordinarily, Ministers of the Gospel are supposed to be shining examples of the peace, love and humility of the Lord Jesus Christ, both in action and in words. However, recent developments are revealing that some ministers are living out the example of the devil which Jesus Christ told his disciples comes to steal, to kill and to destroy.
The above preamble captures an incident which occurred between some pastors of the Popular Pentecostal Church, The Living Faith Church also called Winners Chapel and a Reverend Minister with the Orthodox, Anglican Communion. The incident occurred in Madalla, a border town between Abuja and Niger State.
The Anglican pastor, Reverend Kingsley Nwachukwu told Education Tell how he narrowly escaped being lynched by a senior pastor whose name was given as Pastor Victor Greatman and over 20 members of his church’s student pastors when he showed up with a policeman to invite a class teacher of a primary school owned by the church and operated within its premises.
According to him, his narrow escape was a divine intervention as his assailants, unmindful of the presence of the policeman in his company, mobbed him with dangerous items. He said he only managed to flee for his life when he heard the senior pastor shout “close the gate, I’ll kill this man here today”.
A police report on the incident which Education Tell obtained, confirmed Rev. Nwachukwu’s story and put the number of those who attacked him at over 30 people. The police disclosed that a team of operatives was detailed to the school to arrest the head teacher, the senior pastor and others involved in assaulting Nwachukwu.
Meanwhile, when Education Tell visited the Kingdom Heritage Model Schools Madalla to confirm the claims of Rev. Nwachukwu, the assistant pastor, Chriswealth Onwuzurike who allegedly played a role in his assault, told us that the head teacher, Mrs Bolarinwa was in but would not see us because she was busy. He, however, collected the telephone number of this reporter and said when she was less busy she would put a call through.
Rev Nwachukwu told his story: “My name is Rev’d Kingsley Nwachukwu, Priest of the Anglican Church and a staff of the National Lottery Commission Abuja. This is a report on child abuse, the abuse of our children. We have three children attending the Kingdom Heritage Model Schools, Madalla. Two out of the three children are twins and this abuse climaxed into my very person being assaulted physically.
“It all started at the beginning of 2018/2019 academic session, precisely around November, the girl twin in nursery one came home reporting that one of her teachers, Miss Jennifer, was not allowing her to sit on her seat and that she has to be standing throughout the day. We didn’t take that complaint seriously initially but the complaint continued. We don’t ask them much, I go to pick them from school. What we do when they come back from school is we ask them, “how was your school today? They will say, “fine”. Then when they get home, after eating because I’m close with them, on their own, they’ll begin to dish out information about what happened in the school.
“Then she kept bringing this information that Miss Jennifer doesn’t allow her to sit on her seat that other people seat on her seat. Then I kept asking why, why, why. It got to an extent that I had to go to the Headmistress and demand that the girl be moved to another class. The demand was based on these complaints which my baby kept complaining about. I saw that the child was no longer happy being in that class and what I thought about was solution and since there was another nursery one class where the brother is, then, I demanded that she should be moved to another class.
“So, the head teacher did but reluctantly. But she had to do it because there was a man there, I don’t know the man’s position, he’s not a teacher but I see that it’s like the church has an overbearing influence on the school because the school belongs to the church, Living Faith Church, Winner Chapel Madalla. So, my baby was moved to another class where the twin brother is. Then, shortly after that, series of complains began to come in through the children again. There’s another teacher there Miss Rejoice whom, we later understood is a very close friend to the Miss Jennifer. Then the children began to complain that each time they don’t write well, if they’re asked to write, Miss Rejoice flogs them with a long class board ruler about four inches by width. Not only that, each time they don’t write well, she’ll not allow them to eat the lunch we packaged for them from the house until other children finished eating.
“Some other times she’ll not allow them to eat at all, so she’ll carry the lunch back home like that, she’ll starve them throughout the day. When we ask them, “Why didn’t you eat your lunch, they’ll answer that Miss Rejoice asked them not to eat because they did not write well. And she goes on to intimidate them by threatening them that after school, they’ll not go home. They’re little children, they won’t understand that once I come as a father to pick them, they must go home. So they became jittery and began to develop cold feet about going to school. So, every morning we have to cajole and encourage them to go to school.
“It continued for a long time that we now began to take several visits to the head teacher again. My wife went up to four times and was even educating them that beating a child is not a teaching method because she had taught before. Hitting the children on the head is not a teaching method because there are lots of veins on the head, which if you cause damage to them, later when they begin to suffer it, the teacher might not be there. So, after she had gone up to four times nothing happened, I went myself.
“And each time I go, I’ll say, madam, don’t be tired of us oh, because as long as these children are not happy, we are not happy and as long as these children are not comfortable we too are not comfortable. When they come home and tell us their tale of woe, we are jolted. Then on one occasion my wife demanded to meet with the teacher, she said, no, no, no don’t worry, don’t worry, it won’t happen again. Since you have come, we’ll take care of it. I went four times myself after which, I wrote a formal letter to the head teacher when this complaint continued, that should this child abuse continue, I’ll have to take legal steps”.
“Now after writing that letter, nothing happened, that was in January 2019. Then, sometime in March which was on a Friday, my son came back and said he was having headache. I call him Baba, I said “Baba, why are you having headache?” he said “Miss Rejoice slapped me on the head. So, when he now came back with this complain of the lady slapping him on the head, I tried to downplay it. Saturday, he complained again, Sunday he complained again after church service. I had to start running to University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH) where we have NHIS services. I got there, that’s the GOPD where the NHIS is domiciled had closed and I got to understand that day that they close at eight o’clock. So, nobody could attend to him but somebody advised me to go to the emergency section.
“I went to the emergency department where two doctors came and sat with us and discussed and prescribed some drugs and asked us to come back the next day which is Monday to GOPD so that he can be given proper prescription. So, that Monday we went, after the doctor had treated him, he prescribed the drug which I bought. Then, as I was coming back, I branched into Madalla Police Station to lodge a complaint. After lodging the complaint, the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) dispatched a policeman to go with me to the school to invite the teacher,” the Anglican pastor said.
Nwachukwu neither imagined nor anticipated what happened to him when he decided to take a policeman to invite the class teacher to the police station. The entire story suddenly changed from a case of child molestation to his being physically assaulted which he said, nearly cost him his life.
“The moment we got into the school premises, I was even telling the policeman, as if I had a premonition, I was telling the police, I don’t need to go with you, let me stay outside. He said no, you need to go and show me the head mistress office. I wish I refused, I wish I told him to go in ask anybody, this whole problem would have been averted. However, I went in with him, we went straight procedurally, straight to the headmistress office, met the woman and the policeman explained that he’s from Madalla Police Station and that he’s sent to invite Miss Rejoice who has been reported to have been abusing this particular child.
“Now the headmistress was saying “It has not gotten to this”. I said “Madam, how can you say it has not gotten to this? How many times have I been to you to report? In fact, how many times to be fair and sincere? The last time I brought a letter to you and copied the Inspector Crime, you knelt down in your office and was asking me not to worry that this thing will not happen again. That you are assuring me it will not happen and thereafter. Nothing changed and everything continued to happen as usual. So, you cannot say it has not gotten to that”. So she left and said “ok, let me go and tell the senior pastor. Pastor Victor Greatman is their senior pastor in Living Faith Madalla. I never met the man before, all I know I bring my children to school there and pay my fees. I do not owe them anything.
“So, the next thing, I saw was two men that walked in together and some other young men that came out with them from the church at the entrance because there is a way the school is barricaded with iron bars, the other side is the church. So, he just came in and said, “where is the man” and they said, “I’m the one”. He immediately turned to me and shouted “are you the only person that has children in this school? “Are you the only parent that has children in this school”? Meanwhile, the policeman was there in uniform. His name is Joseph Achabe. He repeated “are you the only parent that has children in this school? “Did anybody force you to bring your children to the school”? So, I began to feel that the head teacher must have made certain insinuations. And he now said, “why should you bring a policeman into this compound”?
“I tried to say “Is that what you are asking me? He said “Yes, in fact you are mad” I said “you cannot say that. These things you are saying do not justify this children being abused. The next thing I heard was “get this man out of this compound”. Before I knew it, the next thing I saw was the one that was with him whom I later understood to be the assistant pastor, used his head and hit on my eyes. It was like they carried a stone and hit my eyes, I wasn’t seeing. I was wearing a clerical shirt, I saw myself being dragged. They broke this hand, the muscles dislocated. I was being dragged by my clerical shirt, I was receiving blows from all corners all over my body. I could not see anything. So that was how I was beaten, I was beaten even with chairs. It was when they were now going to carry iron somewhere I heard the senior pastor say, “block the gate, I’ll kill this man here”. It was when I heard the policeman say “run out of the compound”, I managed to run out of the compound and we got into the car.
“The policeman did not do anything. He just stood there watching them beat me. I was beginning to think that if not maybe for the interest that the DPO and the DCO rallied around us in this problem, I was thinking that the policeman should have been among the people that should be prosecuted. He was too docile. The policeman could not call for intervention or assistance within that time this thing was going on. A reasonable policeman would have been able to call for reinforcement. My clerical shirt was completely torn; my shoes were taken off my feet. I only managed to run out of the compound and we rushed back to the station,” Nwachukwu said.
The Anglican pastor went back to the police station with the policeman to report his ordeal in the hands of the Living Faith pastor and his student pastors. The DPO immediately dispatched another team of operatives to arrest all those involved in the assault. According to Nwachukwu, when they got back to the school, the senior pastor who ordered the beating had escaped but the police officers were able to arrest the assistant pastor, the head teacher, Miss Rejoice and few other personnel.
“When we got to the station, the policeman reported to his DPO what happened, how I was beaten and managed to escape. When the DPO looked at me he was angry, he asked me to sit down and commanded his surveillance team to move down to the school and arrest everyone they can find. That was how they moved in there and arrested the head teacher, arrested Miss Rejoice. Meanwhile the man that gave the orders to beat me was at large, throughout this case they have not caught him. He has been hiding but his assistant pastor was also arrested and there was a man who prevented the police from getting to the senior pastor’s office. He said he was ready to die, that he would not allow them get to the senior pastor’s office. So, they arrested him.
“So, that was it, they were detained for two days. After that the police charged them to court on FIR for criminal charges. When the judge saw them and heard what happened, the magistrate had no patience with them and ordered that they be remanded in prison custody until Monday. So, they were remanded for two days after which the magistrate started receiving pressure and had to write a note to the court registrar to release them. The case was supposed to hold on Monday but on Monday, the magistrate didn’t come so, the case was shifted to 30th of April which was few days ago. 25th March was when I was assaulted.
Education Tell had a recorded telephone conversation with the head teacher of Kingdom Heritage Model Schools, Mrs. Bolarinwa who claimed that it was Rev. Nwachukwu that assaulted the senior pastor. She, however, confirmed that she, the assistant pastor, Mr. Chriswealth Onwuzurike, Miss Rejoice and one other person were detained for two days at the Madalla Police Station and remanded for one day at the Suleja prison on the orders of a magistrate. Mrs. Bolarinwa could not explain why they were detained while Rev. Nwachukwu who she claimed assaulted her pastor was not detained.
Her words; “This man, Rev. Nwachukwu, is one of my parents. He has been coming to the school to come and disturb. The man has twins in our school they are in different classes. We have Nursery 1 Grace, and Nursery 1 Glory. The man came to school one day and told me that his girl twin came back and told him that the class teacher told her to stand up from 8 am to 2pm. And I told him that this is not true. But the man was like, believing his child. He came to make trouble with the school. He asked that the girl’s class should be changed. We changed the class in order to make peace. But since they have been together, it’s from one problem to another. No parent has come to me to say this is what this teacher did to my child except only this man.
“He wrote a letter to the school. He stated there that his child complained to him that her teacher told her she would not go home after school. Another one was he wrote to complain that his child complained that the teacher said she would not eat her lunch if she did not write well in the class. These children are lacking behind in the class. What others are doing, they couldn’t do it. And we don’t use cane in this class whether small or big you cannot come to the class and find cane.
“This last one that even happened that made him to come to my office was that he came one day and said the child came home and said the class teacher slapped him, that particular day, this child came and broke one of our key to the door. We had to call a carpenter to come and remove the key and fixed another one. And this child went home and told the father that the class teacher beat him and the father was like, he took the child to Gwagwalada General Hospital for a check-up. The wife came in the morning, I now begged the wife that we’re very sorry for everything, ok, it will not happen again.
“Before you know it, the husband came in the afternoon towards closing time, with a policeman to the school premises, when the children were learning. And he now said he wants to take the teacher to the police station. I now told them that you cannot take her away, that, this thing has not gotten to this area that you are going to, this teacher is trying to help your child and when you say you don’t need it we’ll leave your child alone. You can’t just take the teacher to police station. But he insisted that he must take the teacher away.
“I now told him that I didn’t employ myself, let me inform the people that put me here. And I ran to the pastor’s office to go and call pastor. I called pastor and on his way out he called his assistant, all of us, we went to the school premises. When my oga was trying to make peace with him, he was just insulting the man of God, I could remember one of the things that my oga asked him that “but you are not the only parent here, why are you doing like this now?” He was like, telling my oga that you are very stupid for asking me that question, he said all manner of things. Before you know it, he was like, coming to my oga to beat my oga up. His assistant came in between them just to separate them.
“Before you know it, he just began to remove his shoe, remove his shirt on his body. That’s how he held my assistant pastor’s tie trying to strangle the assistant pastor, you understand. That was all, that was all, we didn’t do anything bad to this man just to make peace with him while he was here with a police man. The policeman was there, the police cannot do anything. The only thing the man did was to run to the police station to lie that we beat him up. That was all.
When asked why a team of policemen came to the school to arrest her and the pastors, she said it was because they were trying to solve the problem. She confirmed that the police detained her, the assistant pastor and two others for two days and later charge them for criminal assault for which they were remanded for one day by a magistrate. We reminded her that the policeman who accompanied Rev. Nwachukwu to the school reported to his superiors that nearly 30 person beat up the Reverend before he narrowly escaped. He reaction was; “Everything is a lie, the police will not tell you what happened”.
“Yes, four of us were taken to the police station and detained in the police station for two days, the third day was spent in prison” she said.