The Tema Regional Police Command has given Bishop Daniel Obinim, the Founder of International God’s Way Church, an ultimatum to report himself at the command by the close of today or face the consequences.
The flogging is said to have been captured and broadcast on the church’s TV channel and later went viral on social media.
Confirming the ultimatum, the Public Relations Officer of the Tema Regional Police Command, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ms Juliana Obeng, said the bishop’s invite was served on one of his junior pastors at the Tema branch of the church last Thursday.
She said although the church leaders assured the police that the bishop would respond to the invite, no word had been heard from either Bishop Obinim or the church leaders since Thursday.
Following the release of the footage on social media and the subsequent public condemnation, the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, reported Bishop Obinim to the Accra Regional Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVSSU), while another person also lodged a complaint against the bishop at the Tema Regional Police.
A private legal practitioner, Lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu, has also dragged Bishop Obinim to court for flogging the two.
Lawyer Sosu is seeking an order from the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court that would protect what he described as the fundamental human rights of members of Bishop Obinim’s church.
A video of the incident, which is currently circulating on social media, shows the bishop whipping a young man and a young woman, identified only as Elliasu and Gyesiwaa, respectively, with a belt in front of his congregation in a live television broadcast.
The crime of the two ‘sinners’, according to Bishop Obinim, was that the young man, who is his protégé, had impregnated the young lady and that they had gone ahead to terminate the pregnancy.
Applause from church members
In what could be described as encouragement to continue with the whipping, some members of the church could be heard in the video shouting: “Beat them!!!’’
Another shocking moment in the video was the reluctance of Bishop Obinim to stop beating the lady in the video, even after the lady had run to his wife, Florence, who was sitting on the dais.
“Florence, get away from her!’’ he shouted, and further directed his assistants to slap the lady if she got closer to them.
In another dramatic twist, the bishop directed his assistants to continue with the beating after he had obviously had his fill of inflicting pain on the two alleged “fornicators”.
As of 2 p.m. yesterday, Sunday, August 21 when the Daily Graphic team was about leaving the Tema branch of the International God’s Way Church, Bishop Obinim was not in the church.
A member of the church said the founder and leader was officiating at a service at a branch of the church in the Ashanti Region.