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Monday, April 15, 2024

Anambra Woman in Trouble, As Pastor Kills Child She Handed over to Him without Husband’s Consent, Cuts Off His Toe, Returns the Corpse to Them

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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

A woman, identified as Mrs. Okoli is currently in trouble in Anambra State over the tragic death of their 12-year-old child she handed over to her pastor without the consent of her husband.

The incident happened at Umudike Village in Ukpor, Nnewi South Local Government Area of the State, where the woman and her husband were said to have hailed from.

This reporter, Izunna Okafor, gathered that the child, named Chidozie Okoli, was tortured to death by a Pastor of the Christ Holy Church (popularly known as Odozi Obodo) who resided with him in Mbanọ, Imo State, where his ‘Deliverance Ministry’ is located, and which was also the place where the mother of the child took him to him without the notice and the consent of her husband, after she claimed a pastor saw a vision and prophesied to her to do so.

Recounting his ordeal, the father of the child, Mr. Marcel Okoli, said the drama began barely two years ago, when his wife, after saying she was going to a church program with the child, came back without him.

Mr. Marcel Okoli, the father of child recounting his ordeal

According to him, when he asked her the whereabouts of the child, the woman simply told him that she had handed him over to their pastor to live with him. He said after scolding at her to go and bring back the child, which she refused, he also requested her to give him the phone number of the Pastor so that he would communicate with him, and which she also refused to do, telling him that the child was in the safe hand of the ‘Man of God’, her Pastor.

Mr. Okoli said this struggle lasted for about two year and he never saw his child visit home, even on Christmas period, during the holidays or other seasons in the year. He lamented about how disrespectful his wife is, to the point that she takes decisions on her own concerning the family and carries them out without his notice, only for him to be seeing the effects or hearing about them later and even from outsiders.

He recalled how he came back recently to meet crowd partying noisily with DJ in his compound, to his greatest surprised, only to be informed later by someone that it was a birthday party of one of his daughters, as was organized by his wife.

Mr. Okoli said it was about 5.am the following morning after the said birthday party, that he started hearing his wife crying after answering some calls, while one of the daughters also joined her.

“When I heard the cry, I came out from my room to know what was happening, only to be informed by my daughter that Chidozie my son is dead. I mean the boy my wife handed over to pastor to live with him in Imo State.

“Full of surprise and shock, I asked my daughter what happened to him, and she said the boy was accused of stealing something, and then they started beating him to the extent that he became unconscious, and before they could rush him to the hospital, he died on the way,” he said (in Igbo language).

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He said his wife was there watching him ask those questions but ignored him and never uttered a word.

Continuing in his narration, he said he immediately put calls across to some of his brothers living nearby to come and hear such a strange story, whom, he said, when they came, suggested that he convened kindred meeting at his compound at 12.noon that day, which he did and immediately sent messages across to all his kinsmen.

Mr. Marcel Okoli

Going further, he said at about 11.am that day, after his daughter rushed out of the compound answering call, she came back later and opened the compound gate wide, while a car came in with a reverse drive.

His words: “As the car parked, a man alighted from it and walked straight to me, attempting to kneel down. I was holding him up, thinking he was a person who came to commiserate with us over the demise of our son, probably having heard it.

“And the man started telling me that he was sorry, that he was the Pastor who lived with my son, Chidozie. As he was saying that, I then asked him the whereabouts of that my son now, and he told me that the boy is dead, and that it was his corpse that he brought back to me, which he said was inside the car.

“When he said that, I was like You mean you brought back the corpse of my son to me. Imagine my son who left my compound alive is being brought back as a corpse by a man I don’t even know. And there was nobody else that accompanied him on such a journey all the way from Imo State, not even one of his church members; none of his relatives or kinsmen or any other person was among in the vehicle, except him and the driver of the vehicle.

“After he narrated that, I decided not to even go and see the corpse inside the vehicle, and I told him to wait for my kinsmen who would converge for meeting at 12.noon in my house, so that we would understand what he was talking about. And he also told me he wanted to go and see my wife where she is, and which he did, while I continued to wait for my kinsmen, full of emotion.”

Mr. Okoli said after some time, the driver of the commercial vehicle the pastor came with became worried, saying that he wanted to back to continue his work; which after the Pastor explained to him about, he accepted and told them to bring down the corpse of the boy and keep it in the parlour, so that the driver could go, since nothing concerned him in the incident.

According to him, after the kindred meeting and deliberation on the incident, they reported to the nearby police station, after which the corpse was deposited to the mortuary.

He added that the mortuary attendants confirmed to them that the corpse was no longer fresh and that the boy didn’t die that day but days ago, as there was also embalmment chemical already on his body, showing that he had been previously deposited in another mortuary, against the Pastor’s claim that he died that morning.

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Mr. Okoli, who said the Pastor had been detained at the State’s Criminal Investigation Department (State CID) Awka, also said that his wife had been sent back to her father’s by the community women, in line with the resolution of the villagers who said she would not be in the husband’s house while the matter is being investigated.

He further revealed that the body of his dead son was full of varied degrees of wounds and injuries, even on one of his eyes that was badly injured, while a part of his toe is missing. He also said, upon interrogation, the Pastor confessed that he tied the boy with rope when he was flogging him, without knowing that he would die.

Mr. Okoli, who managed to control his emotions during this narration, imagined the kind of torment and agony his 12-year-old son must have passed through in the hand of the Pastor and the kind of underserved painful death he must have died in the process of the torment. He also wondered what it was that his son committed that could not be corrected or repaid, that the little boy was tied hands to back and subjected to such a torment and painful death.

“This was a child I cherished so much, that I even gave him both my Igbo and English names. And that is the boy they have just wasted for me just like that,” he lamented, while also seeking the intervention and assistance of the Anambra State government to get justice for the little boy whose corpse still lies in the mortuary.

Reacting to the incident, the Anambra State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs. Ify Obinabo, who utterly condemned the act, described it as abominable and punishable. She outrightly condemned the actions of the Pastor who beat the child to the point of unconsciousness and death, as well as the woman who took their collectively-owned child to a Pastor to live with him, without the consent of her husband. She also added that the woman should also be arrested and detained immediately.

Commissioner Ify Obinabo speaking on the incident

Mrs. Obinabo, while consoling Mr. Okoli for the tragic death of his son, also vowed that the state government would surely follow the matter up and get justice for the little boy; even as she also cautioned people to always be mindful of the sham religiosity that abounds in the society today in order not to fall victim.

While the full names of both the Pastor and the woman are yet to be ascertained, this reporter, Izunna Okafor, made attempts to get the reactions of the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer on the matter, which proved abortive, as his number was not connecting, as at the time of filing this report.

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