Two years ago, controversial Ghanaian pastor Daniel Obinim was in the news for publicly flogging a teenage couple with his black leather belt over “fornication” accusations during a church service broadcast live on TV.
The assault gained a lot of attention after a video of the August 2016 incident circulated widely on social media showing the Bishop of the International God’s Way Church, whipping the teenagers he claimed he had adopted while insulting them in front of a cheering congregation.
Obinim claimed that he had a revelation from God that the teenagers had engaged in premarital sex which resulted in a pregnancy that was aborted, and that the Holy Spirit directed him to chastise them in public, reports local media Daily Graphic.
In the video, he called the couple “stupid” and questioned the financial status of the 16-year-old boy who he said was a student. “You are foolish. You are now learning a trade, you joined barely three months now, you are foolish. I will hit you with the hook,” he told the visibly frightened 14-year-old girl who he said was learning to be a hairdresser and make-up artist.
The police were involved and a lawsuit was filed against the unapologetic self-named Bishop by a group of human rights lawyers for assaulting the teenagers.
“Any person who is demanding an apology from me or calling for my arrest for flogging my adopted children is unintelligent,” he at the time after a media uproar.
The case was taken on by the Domestic Victims and Violence Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service and after two years of investigation, the self-professed “Angel” was only fined Gh₡4,800 ($962) while two pastors who had held the couple while they were being flogged were fined Gh₡3,600 ($748) each, reports local media Daily Graphic.
Obinim and his two accomplices had initially pleaded not guilty to a physical abuse charge abetment of crime. They were reportedly fined after changing their plea to guilty.
The three were made to sign a bond to be of good behaviour for 12 months or otherwise serve an additional three months in jail.
Daniel Obinim has been in the news several times for the wrong reasons including having sex with the wife of a junior pastor, vandalism, stomping the stomach of a seemingly pregnant woman during deliverance service, and claims that he is an Angel and he flies to heaven to see Jesus.
He recently claimed to have met the biblical Adam and Eve after an introduction by God in the spiritual realm. He has thousands of followers who attend his church which has over a dozen branches across the country.
Obinim is on the long list of African pastors who are living lavishly and claim to heal the sick and enrich the poor while taking money from these same people for God’s work.
Recently, South African pastor, Prophet Rufus Phala, made his congregation drink Jik bleach and six people died as a result. In 2016, he made the congregation drink Dettol creating a public uproar.
There is also Pastor Lesego Daniel in Pretoria, South Africa, who instructed members of his congregation to drink petrol while Pastor Penuel Mnguni forced his church members to eat grass, swallow snakes and even strip naked.
In January, Botswana shut down the church operations of self-styled Malawian prophet Shepherd Bushiri for breaking the country’s laws with his “miracle money” mechanism.
The “miracle money” is a term that refers to the unexplained appearance of money into bank accounts, handbags and pockets of people “blessed” by the “men of God”.
In December, the controversial Prophet Shepherd Bushiri bought a new Maserati Levante luxury car for his daughter who was turning five on Christmas day.
The four-wheeled gift estimated to cost around $125,760 in South Africa sent chills down the spines of social media users who said it was wrong especially when members of his church cannot afford a three-square meal a day.