Pastor hides gun, 3,871 ammunition, drugs in his bedroom

Pastor Ignatus Ogboi (51) of the Christ Army Church at Mbiri in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State, has been caught with 3,871 live cartridges, some prohibited drugs and undisclosed amount of money. This came as the presiding Pastor of Deliverance Home of Comfort Assembly in Ihiagwa, Owerri, Imo State, Benjamin Ndieze, was arrested for allegedly stage-managing abduction to fulfil a prophecy.

Ogboi was arrested by policemen attached to the Special Anti- Kidnapping Squad (SAKCCS) who were acting on intelligence information that he was doing illegal business in the area. The cleric owned up to the ownership of the exhibits but denied the suspected case of kidnapping, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition and prohibited drugs, including Tramadol, levelled against him.

The Delta State Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Mustafa, who paraded him with suspected cult members, murderers and armed robbers in Asaba yesterday, said Ogboi specialised in sponsoring kidnapping and armed robbery operations within Agbor, Umunede and its environs. But the suspect thanked God that no criminal case had been traced to him. Ogboi said he only helped the vigilantes in his community to procure the recovered items found in his possession after they complained that they were buying them at exorbitant rates elsewhere.

He said: “I have agreed to all these things before men but to God be the glory that I am not a kidnapper. I helped vigilantes in my area to buy them cheap. So, the day I brought them into the community, I was arrested. I am not the manufacturer of the cartridges. I am still an ordained minister of God in Christ Army Church, Umunede.

The bulk of the money being paraded is very small compared to what I usually have with me, if my business was still booming. I am not a kidnapper as being speculated.” But Mustafa disagreed. He said: “Operatives of the state Anti-Kidnapping Squad, Asaba, led by the officer in charge, stormed his residence with duly signed search warrant, arrested him and recovered a loaded English made double-barrelled gun, 3,871 live cartridges, some prohibited drugs and undisclosed amount of money believed to be ransom collected from victims.” Mustafa said Ogboi was doing an illegal business of the highest degree of suspicion and suspected that drugs in his possession were being used on his victims.

The suspect, however, maintained that he bought the drugs for his sick wife while the cartridges were being sold in bits to end users. The commissioner said Ogboi’s arrest followed discreet information the command received through intelligence gathering that a businessman and pastor was dealing on illegal goods in the locality. Meanwhile, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, while briefing journalists yesterday, said that Ndieze had arranged with Blessing Ahamefula of Ngwa Road, Aba, Abia State to come to his church with her little girl, Faith Ahamefula, who is just five-year-old. Ndieze received and handed over the child to his church member, Emmanuel Onuoha. He further ordered Onuoha to drop the girl at NNPC Filling Station at Control Post, Owerri.

The arrangement was to convey the impression that Faith had been kidnapped, in order to fulfil Ndieze’s prophecy. It was learnt that during church service, Ndieze prophesied that there was a woman in the congregation who was looking for her daughter. He said that Faith was kidnapped from Aba by her uncle, identified as Emeka. Ndieze said that the baby had been taken to Onitsha preparatory to be taken to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

He claimed that through his powers and prayers, the kidnappers and ritual killers would drop and abandon Faith at NNPC Control Post, Owerri. Ndieze called on his members, who desired to witness the power of God in operation to go to NNPC Control Post, Owerri, in order to witness the demonstration of his power and the miraculous rescue of Faith.

At NNPC Filling Station, Control Post, chaos broke out. Some people had sighted the church members dropping off Faith and had assumed they were kidnappers. Not long after, church members, including the persons that dropped off the baby girl, thronged NNPC Filling Station, Control Post to behold the ‘miracle’.

While some people raised the alarm, accusing them of kidnapping, having earlier sighted the faces, others were accused of being ritual killers. In the ensuing confusion, the police were alerted. Everyone was arrested and moved to police command.

In the course of investigation, it was discovered that Ndieze was fake and had allegedly defrauded most members of his church through fake prophecy. According to Ndieze, he had often been pressured to stage-manage prophecies and he had finally carved in. He said that this was his first attempt at stage-managing prophecy. Ndieze, who said he was an Assemblies of God chorister, said that no money was paid to him for the fake prophecies. He, however, noted that the arrangement was for the news of the ‘miraculous’ recovery of Faith to filter into town and attract more members to his church.