A Nigerian pastor ‘married’ the corpse of his late fiancée after she died after a brutal abortion he had reportedly forced her to undergo.
Reverend Dr. Success Emeka Sunday, the founder of Life Transformation Praying Ministry, in Akwakuma, Nigeria, has been accused of drugging his pregnant fiancée, 32-year-old Chioma Okoye, while attempting to end the life of their unborn child.
Okoye reportedly experienced complications during the abortion and died as a result. The victim’s family, who came to know the truth behind the death, subsequently coerced the pastor to ‘marry’ Okoye’s corpse before her funeral, according to Within Nigeria.
Pastor Sunday reportedly began a relationship with Okoye about five years ago, and they became engaged in 2020. However, when Okoye became pregnant with the pastor’s baby, he rejected the infant saying that the church frowns upon children born before marriage and insisting that it would damage his reputation.
On 24 February, Sunday reportedly invited Okoye to his residence and proceeded to drug her until she was unconscious. He then took Okoye to a hospital and asked a doctor to terminate her pregnancy while she remained unconscious. Though reluctant at first, the doctor went forward with the procedure, Naija News reported.
Okoye began vomiting blood during the procedure. The doctor advised Sunday to take Okoye to a Federal Medical Centre (FMC) for further treatment. At the FMC, Sunday allegedly registered Okoye in a different name before informing her family that she was extremely ill. Okoye passed away at the health facility before her family could intervene.
Okoye’s family discovered the tragic abuse after her autopsy results revealed that there were traces of a drug in her system. After her family confronted Sunday with the autopsy result, he reportedly confessed to having drugged her so he could force her into abortion.
The family proceeded to obligate the pastor to marry Okoye’s corpse prior to her funeral. Following this, Okoye was buried on 31 August in Umuahia, Abia. The name on her obituary poster was changed to include the pastor’s surname to indicate that they were married.
Pastor Sunday’s reputation has reportedly remained untarnished with churches still calling on him to preach and he has retained his post as a theology teacher at Bethel Seminary in Nekede.
A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson, said: “The loss of this young woman’s life and her unborn child through forced abortion is a story so shocking and tragic that it is hard to accept as reality. It is obscene that the man responsible for these barbaric acts appears to have faced no legal or social repercussions”.