The police service has stated that they intend to treat the case involving the founder of the International Godsway Church, Daniel Obinim with as much urgency and transparency as they would treat any other case.
Obinim, who is under investigation for whipping two teenagers in his church publicly, failed to show up at the police station despite being invited by the Tema Regional Police for questioning four days ago.
“We assure the people of Ghana that Obinim is not above the law. What we need to do as police officers will be done,” the Tema Regional police's Public Relations Officer, ASP Juliana Obeng told Citi News.According to ASP Juliana Obeng, a letter had been delivered to Obinim through one of his 'small pastors' as the controversial preacher had not been present at the time of the police's visit.
“He [Obinim] was supposed to have reported on Friday, the day we sent the letter. The date on the letter was Friday, August 19, 2016. When we went to his church on Friday, we didn't meet Obinim in person but we handed over the letter to one of his small pastors,” she said.
She added that, it was standard procedure to deliver a letter through someone else once the person it was intended for is not available and assurances had been sought from the deliverer.
“We do not just hand over letters like that. Before we hand over a letter to somebody to give to the person in question, we find out whether they know that person and if they are willing to deliver the letter,” ASP Juliana Obeng said
“We make them understand that it should get to the person. All of this was explained to the pastor who took the letter and he promised to give it to Obinim. We know the letter should be with Obinim, all of this has been documented.”
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, which confirmed that a complaint had been filed against Obinim at the Tema Regional Police, filed a separate complaint at the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU).
A statement from the Gender Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, said that the Ministry had “has reported Pastor Obinim of the International Godsway Church to the Accra Regional DOVVSU Office for investigation.”
A private legal practitioner, Francis-Xavier Kojo Sosu, along with two others, has also sued Obinim and his church over the incident.
According to the complainants, Obinim and his church have a reputation for such “dehumanizing and cruel” actions and that “if care is not taken the exercise of religious freedom would violently violate the 1992 Constitution.”
Mothers of victims defend Obinim
Meanwhile, the mothers of the two teenagers have jumped to Obinim's defense amid widespread public criticism.
According to mothers of the two, the actions of their children were immoral and God had only used the preacher to punish them.
“God used Obinim to flog the children so that other young people will learn from it and the young ladies will take care of themselves. To me, it was very necessary because it is a lesson that everybody should learn from,” one of the mothers said.
“The revelation came when he was having a live program. I support my father Obinim. I have come to respect him even more.”