© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Controversy as church mandates intending couples to undergo “genital test” before marriage
MEMBERS of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) who intend to get wedded in the church must undergo “genital tests”.
This is according to a letter signed by J. F Odesola, the church’s Assistant General Overseer in charge of personnel and administration.
Odesola stated that the directive was as a result of the many marital crisis arising from couples’ insincerity about the state of their reproductive health.
“The mission authority has observed the recurrence of cases of marital crises resulting from falsehood, especially in the cases of undeclared or unconfessed reproductive/genital status,” the letter read.
“We have the directive if the General Overseer to instruct all the mission’s outpost that forthwith, pre-marital medical examination for intending couples should also include genital test.
“Further, Provinces are requested to register with particular (trusted) government approved hospitals for the various pre-medical examination for intending couples.”
The letter, dated May 10, 2018 generated heated argument on the social media with many saying that the reproductive status of an individual is a private matter and therefore no church has any right to intrude into people’s privacy. Besides, vital personal information passed to a third party could become public knowledge in a twinkle of an eye, they argued.
However, others were of the opinion that the directive is in order, as it would check the rising cases of reproductive health-related divorces being experienced all over the country.
Yet others say the genital examinations are in order as some people may not even know they have genital dysfunction and such tests could enable them get help.
Here are a few of such reactions:
Wale Gates, a tweeter user, said “No church, No religious organisation should have this much power over your life. When your father in law or thechurch finds out You’re firing blanks after the test, what are the chances it will not be made public on instablog?
No church, No religious organisation should have this much power over your life.
— Wale Gates 🇳🇬🇬🇧 (@walegates) May 21, 2018
when your father in law or thechurch finds out You’re firing blanks after the test, what are the chances it will not be made public on instablog?
CANCELLATION OF WEDDING OF MY DAUGHTER GBEMI and Mr OKOBO A.k.A Cant-Get-it-up. pic.twitter.com/4VoMUSOu8c
— Wale Gates 🇳🇬🇬🇧 (@walegates) May 22, 2018
Couples do this test and results are private, I see no reason why the church wants to continue to invade into ppls privacy, doing the pregnancy test before marriage is enough humiliation for the couple now this!
— LINDA (@lindaisioma) May 22, 2018
Seems they are equally tired of praying for the miracle of conception. Best format is to encourage full disclosure from the start. I have mixed feelings about this but I truly think partners should be more open to each other from the start even without the prodding of the church.
— Asampete (@blossomozurumba) May 22, 2018
There are also cases of people not even knowing about their fertility issues and carrying out these tests will help them make the decision of whether or not they still want to be together before tying the knot.
— Benahili Ojeme (@bena_hili) May 22, 2018
But there were others who doubted the genuineness of the letter, saying that the church could say the letter was doctored.
Looks genuine. I hope they wouldn’t say it was doctored or pastored.
— Baba no regret (@hollaQnlay) May 22, 2018
They will definitely say it’s doctored. Is it only infertility that is breaking up marriages? They should kuku do polygraph test for intending couples. Abi?
— Sweeties608 (@oyefunkejolaoso) May 22, 2018
When ICIR contacted RCCG through one of the numbers provided in the letter, the phone was answered by a lady who later called another man, probably her superior, to talk with the reporter.
The man, refusing to reveal his name, said he was not in the best position to talk on the matter. He said the church’s media and publication unit will address the issue at the appropriate time.
Truecaller, a mobile application that identifies owners of phone numbers, revealed that the number is owned by “RCCG Admin 2 and Personnel Department”.