A controversial pastor in Ghana is being criticized by the public on social media for flogging a teenage couple with a belt during a church service. A YouTube video circulated on social media showing Daniel Obinim, the Bishop of International God's Way Church, whipping the couple and chastising them for fornication in front of a cheering congregation.
As seen in the video, Obinim repeatedly whipped the young man while questioning him about his financial status and called the couple "foolish" for their act. In the translated transcription from Africanews, he told the teenage girl: "You are foolish. You are now learning a trade, you joined barely three months now, you are foolish. I will hit you with the hook." The girl is apparently learning to be a hairdresser and make-up artist, according to the transcript.
Obinim refuses to apologize for flogging the couple. "Any person who is demanding an apology from me or calling for my arrest for flogging my adopted children is unintelligent," he stated in a report from MyJoyOnline.
Adom Online reported on Friday that lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Obinim for assaulting the couple. Francis Xavier Sosu, a human rights lawyer, and two others are claiming that the pastor violated the dignity of the victims and dehumanized them. The complainants also mentioned that the incident is not the first time members of the church were subjected to cruel treatment from Obinim.
Nana Oye Lithur, The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection posted on her Facebook account that she has reported Obinim to the Accra Regional Domestic Victims and Violence Support Unit (DOVVSU) Office for investigation.
"We have been informed that the Police has commenced investigations into the matter and a complaint has also been filed against him at the Tema Regional Police. We will keep you posted on further developments," Lithur declared in her post.
Obinim has been involved in different controversies in the past. According to a 2011 article from Vibe Ghana, the pastor admitted to having sex with the wife of a junior pastor.