· It’s a lie, I don’t know them —Church founder
ZAINAB, Saidat and Halima (surnames withheld), 19, 16 and 16 years old respectively are girls that should be in school or learning vocation by all standards, but going by the revelations they made, they had been thrown into prostitution by a female white garment church founder before their rescue by the police in Ogun State.
The girls spoke with journalists at the headquarters of Ogun State Police Command last Friday during the parade of one Mrs Idowu Olupinla, who allegedly engaged them in prostitution and made money from giving them out to men for sex.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmed Ilyasu, disclosed during a press briefing that Madam Olupinla, the founder of a white garment church, was arrested at Ijoko-Ota area of the state based on the report received by his command that she was using girls for prostitution within her church premises located at 52, Okesina Street.
Ilyasu said that aside the girls that lived with her, the suspect had also been sending other young girls to a neighbouring country for the same trade. He further disclosed that the suspect’s arrest was made possible through the report lodged by the girls on August 20, adding that they had been taken to the hospital for treatment.
Below is the narration of the victims on how they started living with the suspect:
“I followed a friend to the church because she was a member. At that time, a spiritualist who had been in trance was about to deliver visions and messages from God. After the programme, I went back home where I was staying with my friend.
“The following day, Madam Olupinla called my friend, asking to see me. When I got there, she said I should start living with her, asking whether I did not want all the good things my friends had. Since my mother was dead and I left my father a long time ago, I packed my things from my friend’s house and decided to stay with her.
“She started bringing men to sleep with me in the night, and after they must have finished, they would pay N500. The woman would collect N300 out of it and leave N200 for me. Same applied to other girls staying with her. Each of us used to have between two and three men per day. I have spent about 18 months with her.
I was there before some other girls came. I also met about nine girls there. Some of the men used to put on condoms when having sex with us but some other didn’t. Anytime we got pregnant, the woman would give us drugs to abort it.”
One day, I was in my sister’s shop helping her to sell fish when Madam Olupinla’s daughter came to tell me that a spiritualist in their church was descending from the spiritual realm. I followed her as a friend and that was how I started living with her mother. She started making me to sleep with men and it was there I lost my virginity.
In between the time I stayed there, whenever I came to my senses, I would return home. But she would call me on the phone and I would return there. Before my father’s death, he came to arrest the woman for keeping me in her house.”
“I followed my friend, Saidat, to the woman’s church and that was how I lost my virginity after I was asked to sleep with men.”
But the suspect, Madam Olupinla, who said she could not tell her age, denied ever keeping any of the girls, claiming that she did not know them. She later changed her words and said that she only knew Saidat
“Police came three times and did not see anyone in my church except me and my daughter. It was a woman who said she was looking for her daughter that went under the bridge at Sango area, Ogun State, to pick some girls who she claimed I was using as prostitutes. I don’t know the whereabouts of the woman’s daughter. She has never stayed with me. And I don’t know any of the girls; neither have I ever aborted for any of them,” she initially stated.
She later said she only knew one of them, Saidat and claimed that it was her ‘husband’ called Aroja who brought her to her church when a member who went into trance recovered to deliver spiritual messages. “She only spent about a week and left with her husband,” Madam Olupinla stated.
Speaking on how the police got to know about their plight, one of the girls, Zainab, said that problem started when a mother came looking for her daughter and Madam Olupinla denied ever seeing the girl.
“We used to see the girl living with Olupinla and when we were asked, we told the truth,” she said, adding that she was surprised to see the elderly woman denying ever having them under her roof.