The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) says it is investigating a pastor, Paul Bankole, who was accused of sexual assault by a former basketball player.
Beatrice Wealth took to Twitter on September 11 to claim she was sexually abused by the church’s Director of Sport, Pastor Paul Bankole, in his office in 2016. ” I was sexually harassed by pst. Paul Bankole in 2016, the then Directorate of Sport in RCCG right in his office at redemption camp. I was introduced to him by a friend in school (Yabatech) because he said he was recruiting female basketball players to form a team for RCCG.”, She said.
” He said some of the players would get into the national team and represent Nigeria in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. I was the first female he got in contact with and we were talking about recruiting other females. I went to redemption camp for the first time in 2016 to play basketball.” She added.
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“He showed me the court and even introduced me to an acquaintance as his daughter after the man said we looked alike. All i wanted to do was play basketball and get the opportunity to play in Tokyo 2020 Olympics but on the 2nd or 3rd visit (can’t remember) after about an hour
“at his office before going to the court (he was busy at the time), He said he wanted to see the pictures on my phone, and i gave it to him. Then he showed me a quote i had saved about loving fiercely…. and said I should send it to him which i did via whatsapp
“He handed my phone back to me & after some time came to where i was standing (i was looking at some things he pasted on his memo board), he sat on the chair & told me to sit on his lap. I said i can’t & then he pulled me to his lap and said i should kiss him, i said i can’t.
“He said he wanted to kiss my pink lips (he had made a remark on my lips through WhatsApp before but i didn’t pay attention to it then, a lot of people talk about it and i take it as a compliment).
“He forced a kiss on me while trying to touch me inappropriately, I was shocked, I kept my lips tightly shut …. this man is old, he’s married, he’s a pastor, different thoughts were running through my mind.
“I told him to stop that I didn’t want to and after trying severally he stopped, stood up and said he’ll drive me to the basketball court which he did then drove off for about 30 minutes saying he wanted to cool off. That was the last time i went to redemption camp.
“I called my friend and told her about it, I was angry and so disappointed. I analysed my every step, I was on low cut, baggy Jersey and trainers, there’s no erotic picture or video on my phone so what could have pushed him to do that? I brushed my lips hard when I got home
“My belief in God at that point became really shaky cos a supposed man of God could do that! a man probably in his 60s with gray hair. It’s not like i wear tight dresses, i was on my normal baggy basketball Jersey.
“I didn’t tell anyone else and decided to let it go because Who was going to believe me a common student as opposed to believing an “anointed” man of God, directorate of sport? It would have been t”he church against me.
“I just remembered today while i was talking to someone and then it hit me again and i felt like getting it off my chest. I see people attack women asking why they are talking about it after a couple of years but you won’t understand until it has happened to you.
“I’m not angry anymore, I’m at peace with myself knowing that it was not my fault. I’m not responsible for the actions of a grown man.
“If you’ve ever been harassed, molested or raped, i hope you’d one day find the courage to talk about it. I hope one day you stop feeling shame and it stops hurting.
“I will one day speak on my then supervisor Dr. Odunlade Adekola K. (not the actor ó) in Environmental Biology department of Yabatech who also molested me but not today. For him I will take legal steps when i can afford to cos he doesn’t deserve to be anyone else’s supervisor
“or lecturer… He was a master manipulator and he’ll be whispering and saying “i hope you’re not recording”. I recorded severally but his voice was too low. I rest my case.”
RCCG Reacts To Sexual Assault
Funso Odesola, an Assistant General Overseer in RCCG, replied to the former basketball player’s tweet, writing: “Our attention has been drawn to your tweet on sexual harassment by Pastor Paul Bankole during your visit to his office at the Redemption Camp.
“We would like to have a physical meeting with you at your earliest convenience in order to further investigate these allegations to forestall a reoccurrence.
“Please accept our utmost apology for whatever you might have passed through as a result of this act.”