The church is in Nassarawa State, North Central Nigeria.
An Upper Area Court in Mararaba, Nassarawa State, on Friday heard how a clergyman, Peter Ododa, allegedly eloped with the wife of a member of his church.
The complainant’s counsel, Sunday Ijiga, told the court presided over by Justice Vincent Gwahemba how the Lead Pastor of the Holy Family Praying Ministry in New Karu wooed his wife before eloping with her.
According to Mr. Ijiga, his client, whose name he gave simply as Mr. Okpara, got married to his wife on March 28, 2008, only for her to disappear in 2012.
He said his client’s wife, Grace, had joined the church shortly after their wedding in 2008, adding that not long afterwards his wife also invited him to the prayer house.
Since that invitation, his client began to feel uncomfortable about the goings-on in the church, the lawyer said.
“His wife continued visiting the prayer house, and suddenly started behaving strangely,” Mr. Ijiga said. “Later in September 2011, she abandoned her husband and eloped with the accused who is the Lead Pastor at the church.”
The counsel said that Mr. Okpara later reported his ordeal to the District Head of New Karu, who summoned Mr. Ododa to find out what was going on between him and Grace. He claimed that investigations showed that the pastor eloped with Grace finally in 2012.
“In spite of all interventions by the leadership of the church and warnings from different parties, he refused to produce Okpara’s wife for him,’’ the lawyer told the court.
In his response, the clergyman pleaded not guilty, insisting that Grace was not in his custody.
The Judge, Vincent Gwahemba, ordered Mr. Okpara to produce his witnesses at the next hearing date, while also inviting the district head of New Karu to be appear at the next hearing.
The judge asked for further investigations into the case before adjourning the matter to February 20 for ruling.