A Birmingham Crown Court in Central England has jailed a Nigerian prophet, Michael Oluronbi, for 34 years for raping and sexually abusing many children and adults, over the course of two decades.
The prophet was convicted of 15 counts of rape, seven counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault.
As the court handed out the sentence to the 60-year-old on Friday, his 58-year-old wife, Juliana, was also handed an 11-year prison term for aiding and abetting the crimes. Both were found guilty by jurors in a trial that ended in January.
The convict was linked to an Edgbaston, Birmingham branch of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, although he created a splinter group separate from the church and with another address through which he organised “spiritual bathing” for members, which he claimed would “ward off evil”.
Prosecutors said it was through this group that he organised spiritual bathing for more than 40 children and adults.
He was said to have raped or sexually assaulted at least 88 persons.
Many of the reports of abuse, the court heard, were perpetrated through this splinter group.
Prosecutors told the court that Oluronbi got many of his victims pregnant but being a trained pharmacist, he took them to different clinics to procure abortion pills for them.
His wife was said to have helped him arrange some of the abortions, especially for four different girls.
Police detained Oluronbi at Birmingham airport in May 2019 while he was trying to flee to Nigeria, and after one of his young victims, who is now an adult, reported his activities.
After his arrest, he told police “the devil made me do it”.
One of his victims said in court: “I don’t think I can ever place my faith in religion again. I trusted him because he was like God on earth.”
Judge Sarah Buckingham described Oluronbi as an arrogant, selfish and vain man who abused his position of trust.
The judge said that although some of his victims trusted him like God, the convict perpetrated “one of the worst cases of sexual abuse of multiple children to come before the courts”.