In a bid to hide his alleged amorous relationship with a 25-year-old member of his church, a pastor, Chidiebere Okoroafor, has allegedly murdered three persons and an unborn child in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The 32-year-old pastor and preacher at Altar of Solution Church based in Oyigbo area of the city was recently arrested by men of the Rivers State Police Command for the alleged crime, which also led to the death of a nine-month-old baby.
Those allegedly killed by the cleric are Concilia Ezeawa and Uluoma Onweagba, who was carrying a five-month pregnancy before her death. While the cleric strangled Ezeawa in an uncompleted building, the pregnant Onweagba was killed in a bush during the serial murder that happened on December 11, 2017.
The nine-month-old baby, Christabel Joseph, was strapped to the back of the pregnant Onweagba even though Ezeawa was the actual mother. It was learnt that the baby hit her head on the ground and died when the pastor allegedly pushed Onweagba to the ground.
Pastor Okoroafor, who hails from Arochukwu in Abia State, was said to have committed the offence in his desperate attempt to hide the fact the he had impregnated 25-year-old Onweagba.
It was gathered that the Rivers State Police Command began to suspect the pastor when it got information from one of the neighbours of the deceased that they (Ezeawa and Onweagba) had been missing since they said they were going to see him (pastor) to sort out a matter bordering on pregnancy.
Speaking with journalists on Friday at the State Police Command in Port Harcourt, the Deputy State Commissioner of Police in charge of administration, Cyril Okoro, said, “The case started unfolding on December 11, 2017. At about 11am, the whereabouts of Concilia Ezeawa, Christabel Joseph and Uluoma Onweagba (all female) became unknown to their families.
“This resulted in the lodging of a formal complaint on their disappearance at the Afam Divisional Headquarters. After a preliminary investigation by the police, coupled with a diligent search by members of the community, the decomposing body of Uluoma Onweagba and Christabel Joseph (baby) were discovered in a bush along the Afam-Igberu Road on December 13, 2017.
“Their corpses were immediately evacuated and deposited at the mortuary pending further investigation. On December 18, 2017, the decomposing corpse of the real mother of the baby, Concilia Ezeawa, was recovered in an uncompleted building in Izuoma community in Oyigbo Local Government Area. The corpse, which was at an advanced stage of decomposition, was evacuated and deposited at the mortuary pending further police investigation.
“The pastor, who was said to have been involved in amorous relationship with one of the deceased, Onweagba, was invited and interrogated about the murders of the victims.
“He was subsequently detained, as his explanations were not convincing, particularly compared to the information at the disposal of investigators that the deceased persons had, on December 11, 2017, informed neighbours that they were going to see the pastor over a pregnancy issue involving Onweagba.”
DCP Okoro said the pastor later confessed to the crime after he was confronted with overwhelming evidence linking him to the murder of the deceased persons.
Okoroafor allegedly took advantage of the trust the two members of his church had in him to lure them to an uncompleted building and inside the bush before killing them.
The pastor, according to Okoro, first lured Ezeawa to an uncompleted building, telling the other person (pregnant Onweagba) to wait some distance away. He added that unknown to the pregnant lady, the pastor had killed her neighbour.
He said after strangling Ezeawa in the uncompleted building, he (pastor) joined Onweagba along Afam Road, where they both took a commercial tricycle to Afam Roundabout.
Okoro said, “They again took a commercial motorcycle to an isolated farm on Igberu Road where he took her through a track road and gruesomely murdered her in the bush, with the baby strapped to her back.
“She (pregnant Onweagba) was suffocated with the wrapper she used in strapping the baby to her back. The baby was also found dead.”
Okoro said the suspect’s confessional statement took detectives to the various scenes, during which he narrated how he killed the victims.
The police officer also said that an autopsy had since been carried out on the victims.
“The murders were premeditated, callous and devoid of sympathy,” Okoro said, adding that the pastor would soon be charged to court.
However, when confronted with the allegations against him, the pastor told journalists that his action was not intentional. The suspect pleaded with the police to help appeal to the families of those he killed to forgive him. He also told journalists that he had a vision that he would be taken to court soon.
“I want the family of Uluoma and Mr. Joseph (father of the nine-month-old baby, Christabel) to forgive me. I want the police to help me to apologise to the families of those I killed. It was not intentional,” he said.
Meanwhile, our correspondent gathered that the Altar of Solution Church had been shut down, as members of the church who heard about the incident had since dissociated themselves from the church.