BREAKING: The Ife killer pastor

Even by the standards of the absurd, the event was bizarre. A junior shepherd, feeling affronted by the failure of his superior to sanction his romantic advances at a member of the flock, a prophetess, allegedly decreed death for the hapless shepherd. This is the ugly spectacle to which residents of Omitoto in Ile-Ife, Osun State, were recently treated<<<READ FULL ARTICLE>>>

They have been telling the tragic story of how Morris Fadehan, the shepherd of Grace of Comfort Parish, a Celestial Church of Christ branch in the area, met his untimely end. Fadehan, they said, was murdered right on the church premises by one Lekan Ogundipe, his second-in-command. Said a resident: “The shepherd (Fadehan) was alone in the church, praying before the altar when Lekan suddenly attacked him from behind. He first tried covering the shepherd’s face with a garment, but that led to a physical struggle between the two of them. The shepherd was quite elderly, and as a result of this, Lekan managed to overpower him. He (Lekan) then picked up a screwdriver and stabbed the shepherd in the face. Fadehan died instantly. After this, he poured petrol on the pastor and set him ablaze.”

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After setting Fadehan ablaze, Lekan reportedly called an elderly member of the church, claiming that the shepherd “was on fire”. But his alibi was busted when those who rushed to the scene noticed his blood-stained garment. Church members alleged that the said prophetess, miffed by Ogundipe’s broadcasting of a relationship to which she had not acquiesced, had told him off, saying he was peddling fake news about her and declaring that she would never date him. This, they claimed, led to an altercation between the duo. The Osun State police spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, said the suspect had been arrested and the case transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Confirming that the suspect killed Fadehan and doused him in petrol, Opatola said the remains of the deceased had been deposited at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTHC) morgue.

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The story is, to say the least, strange, especially as it involves actors in a religious institution to which the timeless virtues of discipline, morality and sobriety should be readily attached. In this case, sadly, somebody that was supposed to be teaching people the Word of God has now been slammed with the charge of murder, having cut short the life of his apparently disciplined, morally inclined and women-respecting boss. In this case, as in many others before it, there is a sub-text of the pernicious, chauvinistic view that women can have little or no say over their own bodies in romantic relationships. And it is a double tragedy because it has all the trappings of gender dictatorship and coercion and if current developments are any indication, the prophetess at the centre of this crime of passion was right to have rejected the amorous advances of the suspect in this case, who not only broadcast a non-existent relationship but also allegedly beat her up when she confronted him with the facts of his duplicity. Just how can you force a lady, or anybody for that matter, into a romantic relationship? Is it that a proposition represents a fait accompli? Do people not have the inalienable right to determine, after a rigorous consideration of the relevant facts, those to whom they are going to have a liaison?

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It is distressing that Pastor Fadehan had his life prematurely ended by his subordinate simply because he refused to sanction an imposition on a member of his flock, regardless of where it was coming from. As a responsible individual, he recognised the right of women to choose a lover, should they so desire, unencumbered by those in authority. And although that thoughtful, decent stance allegedly cost him his life, his family can take solace in the fact that he died fighting for a good cause. Countless numbers of lives have been wrecked by the kind of imposition which the suspect in this sad case wanted sanctioned. The fact that most of the pathetic stories do not even get reported in the media should blind no one to their terrible nature. We insist that women own their bodies and should not be coerced into granting undesired/undesirable and illegitimate access to them. After all, this is supposed to be a democratic society.

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The society has become completely dysfunctional, and that is putting it mildly. As we have said time and again, most of the harrowing stories with which the country has had to grapple had their roots in the breakdown of family values. Family values, including fully imbibed, decent parental upbringing, are sacrosanct; society can only abandon them at its own peril. Part of good parental upbringing is to nurture children to have respect both for themselves and for the opposite sex, and to have humanitarian concern for others. It is quite clear that a lot has to be done by governments at all levels to place the primacy of family and societal values at the forefront of their engagements.

In a profound sense, this case is really not about religion but about plain criminality. That is why it has to be treated strictly in accordance with the laws of the land. We urge the police to ensure a painstaking investigation of the case and thorough and diligent prosecution in the court of law to serve as a deterrent to others and to enable the family of the slain shepherd to have closure<<<READ FULL ARTICLE>>>

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