A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, on Tuesday, sentenced a pastor, Basil Princewill, to 12 years imprisonment for raping a 14-year-old girl.
Mr Princewill, founder and general overseer of Mountain Mover Fire Ministry of International, Nyanya, Abuja, was convicted on two of the four counts he was charged with.
Delivering judgement on Tuesday, the judge, Husseini Baba-Yusuf, held that ”it is bad for a person to indulge in this kind of devilish act”.
”Those who are supposed to be men of God are expected to be highly religious, exhibit decency and act as role models to their followers.
“Considering the interest of the girl, the interest of the public and the rising cases of rape in the Church by those who serve in the Lord’s vineyard, the court must send the signal to the public to serve as a deterrent to others.”
Mr Baba-Yusuf said the behaviour of the pastor was ”despicable, shameful, degrading and satanic”.
”By this conduct, the accused deserves to be taken to a monastery until he changes to a better man of God.
“It is more worrisome, especially when a person in question is looked up to as a man of God,” he said.
Apart from sentencing Mr Princewill to seven years imprisonment for raping the girl, the court added another five years sentence for his attempt to abort the resultant pregnancy.
The incident took place on July 27, 2011, to December 31, 2011.
The judge said that from the evidence of prosecution witness(PW) 1 (the victim’s Mother); that of the PW2 (the victim) and the PW3 (Dr Ogunlade Felix), the accused perpetrated the act of rape ”under the pretence of carrying out deliverance and cleansing on the girl on July 27, 2011”.
The court said it believed the evidence of PW1, PW2 and PW3 because ”the PW2 was very detailed on what happened to her in the accused pastor’s office and same evidence was corroborated by PW1 and PW2.
”I am impressed by the testimonies of PW1 and PW2; I believe PW2’s story of how the accused raped her.
”The accused did not deny the fact that he invited the 14-year girl to his office for deliverance and cleansing and the fact that he gave a poster to the girl to take, the court said.
According to Mr Baba -Yusuf, ”I believe PW2 that on July 27, 2011, the apostle, in the guise of deliverance, took advantage of the girl by having sex with her”.
The court also noted that an act of ”slapping the girl constitutes a threat to hurt her.”
The judge said “the fact that the accused took the victim to Fountain Head Medical Centre Nyanya was an indication that ”he knew something about the pregnancy”.
The court said it did not believe the testimony of the accused, stressing that apart from being full of contradiction, ”it was different from the testimony he gave at NAPTIP”.
”I find it difficult to believe the accused person’s incoherency, riddled/puzzled testimony.
”Evidence of PW1 about what PW2 told her is direct and positive evidence and not hearsay.
”Defence of the accused is not tenable and is therefore rejected. Proof of the case of rape against the accused is sustained,” the court held.
The case was filed by the police on June 4, 2012, with the prosecution closing its case on December 9, 2016, during which it called five witnesses to prove its case.