How Nigerian pastor sexually harassed girls for over five years – Church leaders
Leaders of the MINE Teenage Ministry have spoken on how its coordinator, Timi Adigun, allegedly carried out “depraved immorality with teenagers” for over five years.
The leaders, who were reacting to a public apology issued by Mr Adigun after he was accused of sexual relationships with members of the ministry, also said he has refused to step down from his role in the group, contrary to his claim in the apology.
They also said he has refused to show remorse over his misconduct.
Premium Times reported how Mr Adigun, a pastor at The Ark Church and a preacher of sexual purity, was recently called out on social media for his escapades with girl members of the Christian ministry.
Although he admitted to inappropriate behaviour with some girls over a couple of years, he denied having sexual intercourse with any of them.
He said he had stepped down in October from his roles in the ministry and church, and announced a break from social media until January when he is returning to the pulpit.
Meanwhile, the ministry, in a statement signed by its leaders and circulated via its social media platforms on Tuesday, gave a different picture of the current situation in the group.
On how they came to know about Mr Adigun’s misconduct, they said someone using an anonymous phone number had in October sent a text message accusing them of covering up Mr Adigun and his escapades with young women over the years.
This led to an investigation, the religious organisation said.
“We definitely got bothered and some leaders sought to get to the roots of the matter by finding out who the anonymous sender was.
All efforts to do this proved abortive. Instead, we were met with more shocking news asserting that the accusations may have been true.”
The organisation said it reached out to Mr Adigun but he repeatedly told them that God had asked him not to say a word on the matter.
However, the organisation said it confirmed from some of the alleged victims that Mr Adigun had been sexually harassing young women in the ministry for over five years.
“He was involved in depraved immorality with them, including teenagers,” the organisation said.
MINE ministry recalled how Mr Adigun had invited a teenager from her school outside Lagos to a hotel in Lagos.
“He allegedly told her not to inform her family about leaving school either, totally unconcerned about her safety. In the same vein, he had invited others too, telling them to come alone to meet him.
“These young people trusted him with everything. Some of their parents entrusted them to him!”
The organisation also accused Mr Adigun’s wife, Titi, of complicity in the scandal.
“Titi Adigun knew about this all along, she knew about it the very first time it happened and at other times after that. Despite knowing, she still deliberately exposed ladies in the ministry to her husband, accommodating some of them in their home.
“Timi Adigun made some of the victims kneel before his wife to apologise for his own sexual immorality.
“When met by some of the leaders again with more details, he still resorted to self-justification and said things like ‘it is not like I do not take care of these girls’: ‘God will vindicate me’, ‘My God will speak for me’ to justify his sexual harassment of them.”
The ministry said Mr Adigun went on to block the access of its leaders to him while he and his wife also threatened some of the victims.
Also, the ministry’s leaders said Mr Adigun has not stepped down as the coordinator of MINE Teenage Ministry as he claimed in his apology letter, or shown remorse over his alleged misconduct.
“He said it times without number that he wasn’t called into ministry by anyone and no one could make him step down.
Stepping down would mean he stepped away and handed over to someone else, which obviously never happened.
Instead, he closed down the church and shut down the ministry programmes for the year, after which he reached out to obviously carefully selected people to inform them of a new church running. They didn’t reach him to be taught the word.”
The leaders said Mr Adigun offered no explanation or apology to the ministry members in his apology letter.
They said this has left most of them confused and to look for information themselves.
“He dissolved the family groups and stated clearly for everyone to do as they wished in their respective stations in a long text sent by his wife to all of the ministry’s platforms right before they both cut everyone off from where we stand internally. Timi Adigun’s action up until now has not reflected remorse.”
“He had confidently stated that nothing can be done to him, confidently playing on the victims’ quietness. In lieu of this, we still do not recommend any parent or church body to trust their wards with him.
“Any young person, teenager or child involved with Timi or Titi Adigun would be doing so at their own risk,” the organisation warned.
PREMIUM TIMES could not reach Mr Adigun for comments as he has changed his telephone number since the issue became a public concern.
Also, telephone calls and text messages sent to Mrs Adigun on Tuesday evening were not responded to as of the time of filing this report.