…Says it’s a Conspiracy Against Him
By Ruth Oginyi and Agnes Igwe
A 55years old male pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Mgbabor Echara village in Ebonyi Local Government Area of the state, Pastor Prince Apollos Okpara has been arrested by the Nigerian police for allegedly defiling a ten year old minor, his church member’s daughter.
Pastor Okpara a native of Amasiri in Afikpo South Local Government Area of the state who is resident pastor of the church in the area was accused of defiling a ten years old female minor of his church on Sunday the 8th day of march 2020 in their church premises.
Although the police public relations officer Loveth Odah said her office was not aware of such matter thus could not confirm the report, the suspect was alleged to have defiled the victim, after their home fellowship, which held in his house on Sunday 8th March, 2020.
Mother to the little girl who gave her name as, Felicia Ogboji explained that the she got to know about her daughter’s ordeal, when the little girl got home that night and started crying and on a closer look, she noticed that blood was dropping out from her private part.
She said, “Upon inquiry, I got to know that my small girl was defiled. She was taken advantage of, by the pastor. She told me that, after the home fellowship, held in the pastor’s house, that the Pastor put his thing into her private.”
“She said after the home fellowship, the pastor sent other children away and asked my child to go and buy something for him. When she came back, he locked her inside his house and started touching her with his hands and eventually put his thing inside her private.”
The man of God was alleged to have been arrested by men of the Nigerian Police Force, attached to the Central Police Station, Abakaliki, on Sunday.
A police source who doesn’t want his name on print, hinted that the Pastor was arrested on Sunday, after the victim’s mother reported the matter at the police station.
“I know this man. He is a pastor and I know his church and I’m wondering what could have led him into doing this kind of thing. I have interviewed him and he said he did it and that it was in his house. And from the look of things, he would be arraigned soonest.
Citizens’ Advocate gathered that the suspect sent the minor to buy something for him and on return to give him feedback, he allegedly dragged her in, locked the door and defiled her. We learnt the girl’s groaning and plea for mercy was not heard by anyone because of distance from the church to the residential houses there.
He was thereby allegedly accused to have committed offence punishable section 218 of criminal code cap 33 volume 1 laws of Ebonyi state of Nigeria, 2009.
While every effort to confirm the allegation from the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Loveth Odah, failed, our newspaper went further to contact the police JWC unit but the head of JWC said she had travelled to Imo State for another case.
She said, “Nothing like that came to my office”.
She said somebody from ministry of justice shared similar story to her online but because of her tight schedule in Imo State, where she travelled for another case, she couldn’t download the message immediately to see the content.
Meanwhile, on the 17th day of March shortly after waiting for more than 30 minutes to be arraigned before Abakaliki chief magistrate court 3 presided over by Chief magistrate Chinedu Agama, the suspect was not arraigned but taken back to police custody.
Our source in the court made us understand that they were running around to get Doctor’s medical report and other evidences required for the matter which were not in the case file
International Federation of women lawyers Abakaliki chapter is interested in the matter because of the victim’s age.
The Federation chairman, Barr Mrs. Grace Iheanacho- Chima was seen running around to ensure justice and when approached for reactions, she declined comment saying she will address the Press after official arraignment of the suspect towards end of the week.
Responding, the suspect Prince Okpara denied committing the crime and described the case as mere conspiracy and handwork of mischief makers against him and his family.