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Those Who Cheat In God’s Name
Published Jan 30, 2021 IN Column, LAW & SOCIETY,
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According to William Congreve ‘Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned’. If the law were not there to redress the breach of contracts in the world of com­merce, there would certainly be chaos in the society as people would have no option but to resort to taking the law into their own hands; in the same vein, if the law begins to look the other way and allow people to break the hearts of others without any hope of redress for the injured party, certainly more grave would be the anarchy that would result from this. It is for that reason that BREACH OF PROMISE OF MARRIAGE is made justiciable: when one has made a firm promise to marry another, the law will frown at him/her reneg­ing on that promise without good reason.


Miss Lee and Engr. Pee were in a relation­ship and planning to tie the nuptial knots, when fortune suddenly smiled on the young man who had for eight years since bagging his Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering been a ‘hustling applicant’. A job application which he had submitted to an oil company over three years before had most unexpectedly received a reply, inviting him for an interview. At the end of the first leg of the interview he had confessed to his fiancée, Miss Lee, that serious prayers were needed if he ever hoped to get the job: over seven hun­dred engineers had been invited along with him, out of which number only twenty-two had been shortlisted, and these twenty-two would be traveling to Amsterdam for the second leg of the interview which was going to take the form of a course; at the end of the two-week overseas course, the twenty-two would be subjected to an examination and the best five candidates would get the job.


‘Only five engineers are needed for the job, dear, and the pay is out of this world. The company pays its workers in hard currency,’ Engr. Pee told Miss Lee. ‘Look, baby, we just can’t afford to miss this opportunity.’


‘Imagine! Only five out of over seven hun­dred!’ Miss Lee exclaimed. ‘Ah! Honey, this is the time for radical prayers-o. God forbid that you should be among those unlucky seventeen people who will be dropped next. By the special grace of God, if the company is going to take only one engineer out of seven thousand for this job, that one person must be you. What do I have my knees for? I know the God I serve. He will not permit you, after being lifted up to Amsterdam, to be dropped back into squalor. Never! Honey, quick! Let’s take this matter to Pas­tor DD. We need serious prayers indeed…’


Pastor DD was a suave middle-agan of God’ who could talk a mile a minute. He was the General Overseer of GOD IN HEAVEN MINISTRIES INC. He was a man believed by members of his church to have the ear of God and the ability to get the Almighty to grant double-quick miracles… Pastor DD was bowled over to hear what the company paid its Engineers as salary; he was espe­cially impressed to hear that out of the over seven hundred candidates who had attended the first phase of the interview, Engineer Pee was among the twenty-two who would be flying to Amsterdam for the second and final phase. He was very much interested in the matter and promised to storm the doors of heaven with his prayer warriors to ensure that Engineer Pee would be among the ‘final five’ to get the job.


Most fortunately, Engineer Pee did get the job. When he received his first salary, he paid his tithe to Pastor DD of GOD IN HEAVEN MINISTRIES INC. in dollars; he also paid his vow to Pastor DD.


And that just marked the beginning of the end of his wedding plans with Miss Lee. Engr. Pee immediately received an invitation from Pastor DD for a special prayer session that very Sunday evening. Miss Lee was surprised that the invitation had not been extended to her, who had in­troduced the Engineer to the Pastor in the first place. Engr. Pee was equally surprised at her non-invitation and had insisted that she accompany him to the parsonage of Pastor DD.


When they got there, Pastor DD did not bother to hide the fact that Miss Lee’s not being invited was quite deliberate; the Pastor did not conceal his displeasure at seeing her in his office. He was with three of his junior Pastors who themselves, by their body language, showed Miss Lee that her presence was not needed at that prayer session. Their sudden hostility baffled Miss Lee, but when they started what they called ‘prayers’, she understood why they had not wanted her around:


‘Yes, Lord! Yes, Holy Ghost!’ Pastor DD bellowed over the head of Engr. Pee as the man knelt in the middle of the circle of ‘men of God’ (with Miss Lee having been firmly ordered to stand aside)… ‘Oh, Holy Ghost, thank you for your revelation! Jehovah God, we now call upon you to root out like jigger this Jezebel, this evil daughter of Eve, who has been sent from the marine kingdom to destroy the shining destiny of this child of God. Root her out of his life like jigger, Lord, for the Scripture says that all that has not been planted by my Father must be uprooted…’


Miss Lee nearly fainted. She heard one of the junior Pastors speaking in tongues and Pastor DD ‘interpreting’ to say that the Holy Ghost had directed that Engr. Pee must not marry Miss Lee for she was an agent from the kingdom of darkness on a mission to pauperize and destroy him.


‘You’re lying!’ Miss Lee screamed, unable to take the charade anymore. ‘You’re all ly­ing against the Holy Ghost!’


After that ‘prayer session’, things fell apart between Miss Lee and Engr. Pee. The young man believed Pastor DD and discontinued with his plans to marry Miss Lee… When two months later, Miss Lee heard that Pastor DD had organized a N200 million Appeal Fund raising for the building of his church at the permanent site and that Engr. Pee had pledged the highest donation at the event, the lady was mad with fury; but that was nothing compared to her rage when two weeks thereafter she saw on TV the big society wedding between Engr. Pee and Pastor DD’s younger sister, Evelyn!


She brought an action against Engr. Pee for Breach of Promise of Marriage and joined as Co-Defendants (for Induc­ing Breach of Promise) Pastor DD and his three junior Pastors, claiming N200 million Damages from the Defendants jointly and severally.


At the hearing of the suit, Pastor DD (2nd Defendant), in his Evidence-in-Chief asked the rhetorical question: ‘Can the Holy Ghost be sued?’ And then went ahead to tell court that he had only acted as oracle of the Holy Ghost and so was not liable to Miss Lee in Damages. That line of defence did not help him at all, for not only was he found liable to the claim, he and his co-pastors received a ‘lashing’ from the law, with court awarding a whopping sum of N50 million as Damages against the Defendants, jointly and sever­ally, in favour of Plaintiff. Most wisely, court in its judgment posited that the Holy Ghost could not be sued, BUT humans who falsely claim to be the oracle of the Almighty by cheating and defrauding their fellow men and women could never escape the long arm of the law. (Email: umebeiozowa@ gmail.com).


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