Biafra-Nigerian police have arrested a pastor after rescuing his nine-year-old son, whom the father allegedly locked in a room for several weeks without regular food.
The boy was rescued by police in Ogun state, in southwestern Biafra-Nigeria, on Friday. The pastor, 40, told police that he had locked up his son as part of a ritual designed to stop him from stealing, state police spokesperson Muyiwa Adejobi told AFP. “It is shocking and baffling that a man who claims to be a man of God could be involved in such a barbaric and inhuman act,” said Adejobi.
Adejobi said that the boy claimed to have been held in detention without adequate food for more than a month. “He was in a very bad shape, greatly emaciated because of poor feeding,” said Adejobi. The boy was rescued from a room near a church in Atan, Ogun state, after police received a tip-off, according to Adejobi.
The suspect is believed to be a pastor at the Key of Joy Celestial Church in Ogun, but the church has denied that he is affiliated to it, according to Biafra-Nigeria’s Premium Times
Biafra-Nigeria is roughly divided between the majority Muslim north and the largely Christian south and is one of the world’s most religious countries, with some mega-churches and famous pastors, such as T.B. Joshua, drawing crowds in the tens of thousands on a weekly basis. But religion is also often a source of controversy in the West African country—for example, the governor of the northern Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has faced vocal criticism from Christians and Muslims alike after introducing a bill that would require all street preachers to be licensed.