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Independent AfricaNigerian pastor Oluronbi and wife sentenced to 34 years in UK for...

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Nigerian pastor Oluronbi and wife sentenced to 34 years in UK for raping church members

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A UK-based Nigerian pastor, Michael Oluronbi, 60, has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for multiple rapes of congregation members.

His victims included both adults and children, whom he abused over a span of 20 years, exploiting his position of trust.

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Some of his female victims became pregnant multiple times, and he was found guilty of using his religious authority to perpetrate these crimes against six women and a man.

The judge described his actions as among the most severe cases of sexual abuse involving multiple victims.

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Oluronbi, originally from Nigeria and residing in Birmingham, manipulated victims into participating in ‘spiritual bathing’, falsely claiming it would cleanse them of evil spirits.

He further coerced some into abortions to conceal the pregnancies resulting from his assaults.

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During his trial, the jury learned that Oluronbi committed 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault, and two counts of sexual assault, totaling at least 88 separate instances of rape.

His wife, Juliana, was also implicated, convicted on three counts of aiding and abetting rape for facilitating some of the terminations. She received an 11-year prison sentence for her role in supporting her husband’s crimes.

‘Everything was my fault’ admits pastor in video confession

In a confession videoed last year by a victim’s family member who had confronted him, the pastor is heard saying: ‘Everything was just my fault, and as I said before, I wasn’t meant to be human.

‘I wasn’t meant to live under the roof of any human being and I said that I was an animal.’

The footage was released by West Midlands Police after the trial.

The victim’s relative is then heard, off-camera, asking the pastor: ‘You know I said that you are a paedophile? Everyone knows that you’re a paedophile. You know that that’s the name they give to your type?’

In the recorded footage, Oluronbi, dressed in a formal shirt and tie, speaks energetically, gesturing with raised hands and closed eyes before responding with a simple ‘Fine.’

He attributes his actions to the influence of the devil, attempting to justify his abuse.

Despite the damning recording, Oluronbi maintained his innocence throughout the trial, forcing his victims to testify against him over nine weeks of legal proceedings.

Even while giving his own testimony, he displayed a callous disregard, laughing in the witness box.

Judge Sarah Buckingham condemned Oluronbi’s actions, asserting that the purported ‘spiritual baths’ were merely a guise to satisfy his own sexual desires.

Both Oluronbi and his wife will be required to register as sex offenders for life.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Buckingham criticized Oluronbi’s claims that his actions were divinely guided.

‘Its real purpose was to fulfil your insatiable sexual appetite.

‘The children feared you and this enabled you to continue your grip.

‘Your offending has had an extreme and severe impact on all of your complainants.

‘Any attempt to suggest otherwise would be without foundation.

‘You abused your position of trust – they trusted you like God.’

The judge continued: ‘You did this because you are an arrogant, selfish and vain man.

‘In my judgment, your offending must be one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts.’

An adult survivor bravely stepped forward to assist in bringing Oluronbi to account for his actions.

In court testimonies read by the prosecution, one victim expressed how the defendant’s actions left her questioning the value of her own life.

Jurors learned that Oluronbi was associated with the Cherubim and Seraphim Church in Edgbaston, Birmingham, which originated in Nigeria.

He established a separate group comprising approximately 40 individuals, where he introduced the practice of ‘spiritual bathing’, distinct from the main church’s activities.

These offenses occurred across Birmingham and London.

Prosecutor Phil Bradley QC explained to the jury that Oluronbi’s primary manipulation tactic involved claiming divine instruction to conduct ‘holy baths’, purportedly to cleanse and protect congregants from malevolent forces.

For some female victims, these ‘baths’ evolved into repeated instances of rape, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies and subsequent terminations.

Victims described Oluronbi as ‘controlling’ and possessing an aura of authority.

These offenses transpired over two decades, spanning various locations dating back to the 1980s.

Oluronbi was apprehended at Birmingham Airport in May of the previous year while attempting to depart for Nigeria, accompanied by ceremonial items and a sum of money.

While police could not definitively ascertain his intent to evade justice, they noted that he had recently been confronted by one of his victims about the abuse.


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