. .Match-making church where men pay N1000 to have many ladies
It should have been established as an organization for singles searching for life partners. But the owner chose to call it a church (Zoe Ministries Worldwide) with match-making as its major preoccupation. You may call that a novel and commendable 'project' in a society where many a single lady has to pay through the nose to get a man for marriage! Good as it appears, however, the 'project' has compounded the plight of many innocent ladies who are seeking church's assistance in their desperate search for life partners as men, according to findings, are using the opportunity to take advantage of such girls.
Some of those who have fallen victims of the randy men, told us their tales of disappointments and frustrations they have experienced in the hands of men. Their account confirmed that some unscrupulous randy men have seen it as an avenue of meeting, using and dumping the partner-seeking ladies.
The game has also taken its toll on some parents who in desperate bid to liberate their daughters from the noose of spinsterhood before it gets too late, have also resorted to obtaining forms from the match-making church in order to get life partners for their wards.
This much was revealed when one of our reporters was assigned to investigate the match making business. In the course of his investigation he obtained a form using fake details beside his photograph at one of such centres at Mile 12 in Lagos.
The form was purchased on October 29, from the proprietor who gave his name as Evangelist Francis. After filling the form on which qualities of desired partners were listed and when the 'search fee' of N1000 was handed to him, the evangelist wasted no time in bringing out piles of applicants' files. Prodded by the reporter, he narrated that many parents now come to obtain forms in order to get life partners for their children.
He explained that such parents take the decision when their daughters are of marriage age and are not married. Rather than live and watch them become eternal spinsters, he said, concerned parents would not leave any stone unturned in finding solutions to their children's marital challenges. Whether the consent of such children are sought or not remains unknown and whether the choice of the parents would suit their daughters remains another Herculean task. He spoke about the attitude of some parents that have come to obtain forms for their daughters. “Let me give you two examples,” he began as he brought out a file of a youth corps member. “The parents came here and obtained form for her.
I have got different men for her but they didn't like any. They wanted any of a lawyer, banker or an accountant. I have got all these all to no avail. They always insisted on going to check the man's office and house to be sure of his claims. The last man I got for them is a banker. They called that they were going to go and see him but till date they have not gone. The man came back and informed me that he didn't see them. I think I am tired of them because it seems they are not serious. There was another woman that came to do same for her daughter. When I called her to come and see the picture of a man I felt would be okay for her daughter, she came and immediately she saw the picture, she hissed and said that was not the kind of man she wanted for her daughter. The list is endless.”
After that came counseling time with the reporter on the dos and donts. “You must not meet any person we give you at her house or take her to your house. Always meet at eateries. This is a Christian organization and we don't encourage pre-marital sex. When you meet and you like her, you can start courtship. Later you can go and know each other's parents. If you eventually marry, you will pay us N5000.”
In case the reporter didn't like the partner, hear his advice: “You don't tell her that or shout at her. Just tell her that both of you should go and pray about it. After that you come back to me and I will give you another one. I will continue to get you new ones until you get your choice. The money you paid does not have period of expiry.”
With this, he obliviously made it a kind of bonanza where with just N1000, a man could have as many as 10 women over a period of time. From the piles of applicants' files, he suggested one and said if the reporter would not mind, he could get her to come immediately. With the speed of lightening, he grabbed his phone, he dialed her number and informed her that a prospective partner was around. With the same persuasive marketing skills he sold the lady to the reporter, he also sold him to the lady. From the receiver's end, the lady spoke in a voice laden with despair: “Ah! Are you sure that one would be serious? Okay o, you can give him my number. Her voice tells it all that she had had series of disappointments in the hand of those whom she had earlier been matched with.
On the second of November, our reporter gave her a call for an appointment at an eatery on Allen Avenue, Ikeja. She earlier accepted but later in the day, she sent a text message canceling the appointment. She gave her involvement in a church programme as her reason. She suggested the following day. As arranged, calls started flying out from the two love seeking intending partners like missiles. The reporter had seen her profile and was easy for him to identify her.
When she eventually arrived, the reporter almost took a retreat even though he was not really doing it for real. The picture that showed her as an averagely tall and fair person was a dummy. He was surprised to find that she was short and has part of her face already burnt obviously as a result of using bleaching cream. Apparently trying to be courteous, she genuflected and looked the other side while greeting the reporter. Contrary to whatever good intention she might have for doing that, the reporter saw it more of an attitude of a local and immature person thus fuelling his disenchantment. Taking a sit in the eatery, she said she would manage soft drink and snacks. When this was provided, the real business commenced. She opened the cans of worms of how she had come across four men without any luck since her elder brother introduced her to the match maker.
“I was dating a young guy before I came here. The relationship was already heading for marriage when the sister went to church and was told that the brother must not marry me. We had dated for close to three years and known by each other's families. I must confess that we had sexual intercourse but how many times is what I may not tell you. When that relationship crashed, I kept to myself until one day when my elder brother who works in Ikeja called and told me that he saw a match-making poster and advised me to go and register. I was shocked and asked if that was what my case had become.
“I did as he said. The first man that he gave me was Williams. We met at Ketu. After our discussion, he said I should follow him to his house. I said it was too early for me to do that but he asked if I didn't want to marry again. He said if I really wanted to marry, I would not hesitate to know where my man is living. I followed him but to my surprise, I discovered that he didn't have a personal house. He was living with his friends. Immediately we got there, he told the others to excuse him.
“He gave me his photo album. Later, he pulled his trousers and demanded sex but I refused. That was how I left him. I was matched with another man. He was a teacher and old enough to be my father. I left him almost immediately we met. The third was extremely fat but that was not why I left him. I left because he had incisions round his wrist. When I asked him what that was meant for, he said it was meant to cure a chronic back ache he was having. I felt that man would be fetish and left him. The fourth person that was introduced to me was an apprentice in a glass making company. I was disappointed because I never knew what could make such a man to go and apply for a life partner when he doesn't have means of livelihood.
“In fact, it seems as a mockery of the whole exercise to me. You (the reporter) are the fifth person. Before I left each of these people, I consulted my pastor who prayed over their names and confirmed to me that they were not mine. I would take your name as well to him so that he can pray about it. I am surrounded by prophets who see true vision. If you are not meant for me, they will definitely see it and tell me.”
When the reporter told her he was a teacher, her face wore wrinkles. “Is that all you do for a living because teachers are not well-paid?” she asked. To give her some level of hope, the reporter told her he is also a part time lecturer in some satellite campuses of some higher institutions. With that she heaved a sigh of relief. According to her, her dream man should earn about N200,000 a month but if he is not and God says he is her man, she would not hesitate to accept him. She said that with prayers, the man would get to earn such. A lady of great faith and spirituality she seems to be.
Despite her hyped spirituality and advice against pre-marital sex by the evangelist, she said she would not mind getting pregnant before wedding if the reporter insisted and if she saw signs that it would work. She amplified her compromise with the fact that her church weds pregnant women but would only not allow them to wear white.
At 9pm, the meeting ended and both went home waiting for her to bring the revelation of her pastor within a week. The following day, the reporter beeped her phone and seconds later she called and said: “Flasher! You can't even call with only N20.” The reporter quickly told her that he only wanted to know if she got home on time. She responded in the affirmative and an excited voice that showed she felt cared for.
The day after, she beeped and the reporter called. After some greetings, the reporter sought to know if she had seen her pastor. She told him the matter was already on the pastor's table. On Sunday, November 9, the reporter (married) with his wife went to a business centre and called the lady to know what her pastor said. Before then, she had beeped the reporter's number repeatedly, apparently anxious to break the news.
When she eventually heard his voice, she was filled with joy and gladly told him that her pastor said there is no problem, that the reporter was her real husband. Her joy was however short-lived when the reporter told her that he would have to see his pastor for prayers concerning the development. On Tuesday, November 11, she sent a text message that reads: “Did your pastor tell you that we are not compatible because you refused to call me. Please let me know your mind.”
On Sallah day, the evangelist called the reporter to know what transpired between him and the lady. When he said he didn't like her, the evangelist immediately told him that there was another one right in front of him ready for marriage. To his surprise, the evangelist said the woman in question had two kids already but was quick to say that the kids were not staying with her. He painted her as a big business woman at Idumota. For the purpose of the story, the reporter told him to give the mother of two his number and immediately she called and an appointment was fixed. On Sunday, November 21, the parties met at Oshodi. The woman, Kemi on the reporter's request gave an unconfirmed details of how her brother-in-law planted juju in her bedroom and consequently making her husband to sack her. She also narrated how another man, Femi deceived and duped her.
“I am from Ijero in Ekiti State. I had two children for my husband, a building tiles dealer. When I married him, he was leaving in one room apartment. After some time, we moved into two rooms. From there, God blessed him and he started building his house. One day, we saw a wrapped object in our room and it turned out to be juju. I didn't take it as anything. We only took it to our pastor and he prayed over it and burnt it. Later, when my husband and I were in the room, he just stood up and told me that he wasn't sure that I would live in the house he was building with him. I thought he was joking but that marked the end of our marriage. His brother that did the charm has been calling and apologizing to me but it is too late.
“After that incident, I left Kwara State where we both lived and came to Lagos and started picking up my life all over. I made up my mind not to see any man again until I ran into another at Ikorodu. It happened that we boarded a bus together and immediately I got down, he followed me. He wooed me and we continued meeting at a particular spot. He told me that his wife left him after giving birth to a child for him. One day, he told me that he needed N25, 000 to clear some goods. I gave him the money but never saw him again thereafter.
“Somehow, I was able to get a clue to where he lived. When I got there, I met an Igbo boy who told me that the man was deceiving me. He said that the man was married that when I get to his house, I should ask for Mama Ibeji his wife. True to his words, I met the wife that he said was not living with him. She had had four kids for him. This further dampened my morale about marriage. I vowed never to go close to any man again all my life.”
Asked why she went to obtain a match making form, she said it was her mother who prevailed on her to re-marry. After her pathetic narration, she also said she would go and see her pastor to know if the reporter was her dream man. Whether her pastor would see same vision like Wumi's was yet to be known as at the time of filling in the story.