Okotie’s Aides Batter Journalists At Wedding

  • Monday, August 11, 2008 - By Simon Ateba
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A controversial and violent man can only associate with like-minded people. So it was yesterday, at the traditional wedding ceremony of the controversial man-of-God and funky preacher of the Household of God church, Reverend Chris Okotie, when his security guards unleashed terror on three journalists.

The 50-year-old Okotie was getting married to Stephanie Henshaw, the mother of three, who had had two husbands in the past.

The security guards, allegedly on Okotie’s order, suddenly attacked P.M.News photo journalist, Mr. Olatunji Obasa, who was attempting to take a shot of the controversial man-of-God, who had come out of the main building to cut his wedding cake in Ikoyi.

Obasa was hit so hard in the neck that he immediately found himself on the floor, in front of the man who had invited him.

When the photo journalist managed to get back on his feet, he received a barrage of blows, his clothes were torn and his camera partially damaged during the clash that ensued.

Okotie did not intervene, rather he smiled and went his way with his new wife who was also smiling.

The PM.News reporter, Simon Ateba, who was also invited by Okotie, tried to intervene, but rather than listening to him, Okotie’s main security man called on one of his bouncers, who immediately came, slapped, punched and kicked the reporter with extreme force.

The bouncer then carried the reporter and hit him on the floor several times to the consternation of other reporters who had to intervene.

It was as if the whole scenario was pre-planned. When the P.M.News team got to the venue of the wedding, the reporter’s hand touched Okotie’s brand new Mercedes Benz S-Class. Immediately, the same security guard yelled at the journalist and called him names.

The reporter wondered why he had to behave the way he did and challenged him. This angered the security man who came and pushed the reporter with force.

Inside the building where Okotie was formally joined to his new wife, the pastor’s main security aide pushed PM.News photo journalist several times, to the extent that the bride’s father, Chief Ewa Ita Henshaw, had to call him to order. On one occasion, the man hit Obasa on the head and tried to snatch his camera without any reason.

After brutalising the PM.News team at the wedding, Okotie’s security guards went ahead to assault Mr.Dele Onatade, a photo journalist with Daily Independent Newspapers.

The Photo journalist, who was seen many times with Obasa, was hit on the neck, head and back by Okotie’s aides. It was the intervention of Mr.Kunle Bakare, publisher of Encomium magazine, that calmed the reporter down.

All the assault happened in the presence of Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, Chief Etubom Bassey Okon Bassey Duke, the chairman of the occasion, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw and Koko Henshaw, the bride’s brother and Okotie’s entire family who graced the event.

Meanwhile, Sola Salako, Okotie’s aide for many years and assumed girlfriend in the church, stayed away from the wedding. Stella Damasus, Mofe Damijo and many other celebrities did not show up at the wedding which took place at 6, George Street, Ikoyi, Okotie’s friend’s house.

Stephanie was formally handed over to Okotie as wife at exactly 5 p.m., yesterday. Before kissing the bride, Okotie asked the journalists if they were ready to capture it live. A colleague from a television station told PM.News that Okotie bought some airtime and insisted that his wedding must be aired during the 8 o’clock news.

Okotie likes publicity so much that he invited two journalists from all media organisations in the country. The clergyman told his church members early this year that he will be getting married to Stephanie because of her beauty which he described as angelic.

The eloquent preacher had also said that Stephanie has been under his watch for five years and did not mind the number of children she had from her previous marriages.

Mid-last year, when Okotie made his choice public, his church almost broke up as some female celebrities who thought they were the favoured candidates for ‘the post‘ of Mrs. Okotie, received the shocker of their lives when he settled for Stephanie, the unassuming woman in his glamorous church.

Ladies like Sola Salako, church administrator for several years and Okotie’s close aide; Vien Tetsola, a former Miss Nigeria; Ure Okezie, daughter of former minister, Dr. Okezie, and others, were rumoured to have left the church because of the announcement.

Celebrities such as Stella Damasus, Richard Mofe-Damijo, and many others were also said to have simply quit Okotie’s church then, while some have reluctantly returned.

Okotie’s marriage to Stephanie is his second attempt at matrimonial life. He was first married to Tyna, his long-time friend, but the marriage packed up after 17 years without children.

Okotie loved his first wife so much that there was hardly a sermon in which he did not mention Tyna. Long after they separated, he still spoke about her with deep emotions as if they were still married.

So much did Okotie talk about Tyna that some of his admirers in the church became jealous. But after he announced that he was set to marry Stephanie, he hardly mentioned the name of his first wife publicly.

Stephanie has since become his centre of attraction. On one occasion, Okotie invited Stephanie to the altar for a formal introduction. After dancing round her for some minutes to the delight of the congregation, Okotie looked at Stephanie as she was going back to her seat and said in Igbo language, “Lekwa nwanyi nka marama” meaning “Look at her, isn`t she beautiful?”

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