…’he says I mustn’t date anyone else’
On June 15, 24-year-old Blessing (real name withheld) walked into the office of Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN), located at the Oshodi area of Lagos, to tell the horrid story of how her father had been violating her for years. Blessing’s mother died when she was 19 years old, leaving three children for her husband, Pastor Oluwafemi Oyebola, to cater for. The pastor, who is the general overseer of four churches in Ogun State, converted Blessing, his oldest daughter, to his ‘wife.’
He got her pregnant thrice and carried out abortions thrice with the assistance of a matron at a general hospital in the state. The COVID-19 lockdown ensured Blessing, her father and siblings were cooped up at home. Blessing’s siblings got used to hearing her cry in their dad’s room, but she couldn’t tell them her ordeal.
When she finally summoned the courage to say no to her dad, he allegedly took to beating her. Blessing ran away from home to stay with a friend in Lagos. She said: “I came forward to tell my story and report my dad because my younger sister and brother are all alone with him. I don’t want him to start sleeping with my sister.
He told me I was his wife. He said I must not date anyone. I don’t have friends because he disapproves of everyone he sees with me.” Blessing recollected that in 2015, her mom, a midwife, took ill, had a partial stroke and spent two weeks in hospital.
She said that her father started coming onto her when her mom was ill. She said: “He would call me every time that he needed my help. I used to be free with him. He’s my father after all. Then he started asking me to sit close to him. I was 19 years old then.
He used to say my mom was ill and no one was available to take care of him. He would ask me to hug him. He made so many moves that he scared me. “I used to assist him to shave and clipped his nails. I was clipping his nails one day when he told me that he would take that virginity which I was so proud of.
I complained to his friend, but he didn’t believe me. “My father took me as his wife. He made me promise not to date anyone. Whenever I was going out, he would tell me not to forget that I left my husband at home.” Blessing added that there was a time she refused to go home, stayed in school but Oyebola came looking for her.
She told people that he was not her father, that she didn’t know him. Oyebola, however, convinced people that he was her father by producing pictures. Everyone in school turned against her for denying her father, but they didn’t know what she was fighting against. She said: “When I got pregnant, he took me to hospital, where an abortion was carried out for me. He told the hospital I was not his daughter. Two of the abortions were done at Idiroko General Hospital by a woman called Mummy Ola.
She’s a matron. The third abortion was at a private hospital. My father told her I was his wife’s apprentice. When I was asked if he was my father, I couldn’t respond. I just cried. “Sometimes, he would have sex with me four times a day. My father has carried out three abortions for me before placing me on a Family Planning. I used to sleep in his room, but then I refused to sleep in his room.
He came to my room to flog me.” Blessing said that when she left for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), she made up her mind never to allow him to touch her anymore. But sadly after her NYSC, her father continued to abuse her. She disclosed that during the service year, she became withdrawn, but a lady got close to her. She soon narrated her ordeal to her new friend, who linked her with a human rights lawyer. “But I withdrew from pursuing the case. He’s my father.
If he was arrested, how would I and my siblings manage?” she added. But after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, Blessing ran away from home, to Lagos State, to stay with a friend. Blessing said she had cursed her father on the first day he raped her. “I cursed him with my virginity blood.
I told him it would never be well with him. I believe my curse had an effect because thereafter his pastors in his churches started stealing from him,” she said. Following Blessing’s report, members of ACVPN swung into action and made sure the 44-year-old Oyebola was arrested. Also arrested is an assistant matron, Mrs. Monilola Ogundimu, accused of assisting the pastor to procure family planning care for Blessing. While the police claimed Oyebola aborted thrice for his daughter, he admitted doing so only twice. He remembered it was between 2017 and 2018, before Blessing went for her NYSC in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. Oyebola said “it was the devil” who made him take to violating his daughter. “I can’t fathom why I engaged in sexual intercourse with my daughter.
Having sex with my daughter was not intentional,” he said. While denying the allegation that he started having sex with her in 2015, Oyebola insisted that the incest started in 2017. He added: “It was not three times I carried out abortions for her.
When I realised I had been consumed by the devil’s arrow, I immediately stopped. I’ve asked my daughter for forgiveness. I was hit by the devil’s arrow targeted at me by my enemies. I could not fathom how I began having sex with my own daughter.
It’s a shameful act. But unlike what was reported in the media, I began to have sex with her in 2017 and not 2015 as claimed by the police. Also, the abortion I did for her was just once, not thrice. “I never had sexual intercourse with my daughter till 2020. I got married to a new wife after the death of my first wife. While my daughter was still on NYSC, I told her I got married and she was happy for me.
The misunderstanding between my daughter and I was because of domestic responsibility after her service year. She had insisted on going back to Port Harcourt in search of a job while I asked her to stay back and take care of her other siblings.
This didn’t go down well with her and she vowed to expose the secret. I’m married, I cannot monitor two houses and she said no. That is the only thing that caused problems between my daughter and I. I beat her as a father and she vowed to tarnish my image and expose what we did together in 2017 and 2018. I said no problem and she ran away from the house. Other information reported was a lie!” Oyebola also said procuring abortions for Blessing was was another great mistake.
“The mistake came up in November ending, 2017 and that mistake came up again in 2018 before she went for service in July 2018. I didn’t do it willingly but spiritual attack made me do such things and real Christians will understand what I meant.
I regret my actions and I have sought forgiveness from my daughter. “She has also forgiven me as she came to plead with the Commissioner of Police on my behalf. I want to sincerely beg for forgiveness from Nigerians; my action was unheard of. I seriously regret it.
“I have sinned against God and I have disappointed many Nigerians and many Christians. I pray for God’s forgiveness and I beg all Nigerians that usually pray to pray that God forgives me.” The nurse, Ogundimu, who introduced herself as an Assistant Matron and Head, Family Planning Unit, Idiroko General Hospital, Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, explained that she assisted Blessing to start a family planning method as instructed by Oyebola, who introduced himself as Mr. James to her. She said: “Until my arrest, I never knew James is the biological father of the girl.
He told me that the girl was his housemaid.” The Secretary and Operations Manager, ACVPN, Mr. Ebenezer Omejalile, said Oyebola is a pastor of Christ Apostolic Church domiciled in Owode, Ogun State. He added: “This man turned his first daughter into a sex slave for five years and carried out three abortions, with one leading to severe complications. Two of the abortions were carried out right inside Idiroko General Hospital by a matron known as Matron Ogundimu aka Iya Ayo. “The matron was also responsible for the family planning which would expire next year.
A private hospital, suspected to be a convalescent centre, conducted the third abortion. The worst part of the story is that this pastor is a member of the Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in Owode Ogun State, well known by so many people. Oyebola’s church occupies two plots of land in Owode, Ogun State. “ACVPN has been on his trail for close to a month until July 6, 2020. After due consultations with key stakeholders, he was arrested alongside the doctor of the private hospital and the matron.”