OGBONNAYA IKOKWU writes on the gruesome murder of three pastors at the Wind of Glory International Church, Ohokobe village, Umuahia, by some yet-to-be-identified assailants
As the men of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the Abia State Police Command are currently working hard to unravel the mystery behind the death of Pastor Blessed Iwuanyanwu and his two assistants, some members of his church have raised the alarm that the killers are still making calls with Iwuanyanwu’s mobile set.
Police operatives, led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the SCID, Patrick Edung, had, last Saturday, uncovered the decomposing bodies of Iwuanyanwu; his assistant pastor, Ambassador Ikeagu; and the Women Leader of his church, Pastor Ruth Andrews.
The deceased were pastors at the Wind of Glory International Church, Ohokobe village within Umuahia, the Abia State capital. Iwuanyanwu, said to be about 27 years old, was the Founder and General Overseer of the church.
The late clergyman, who hails from Mbano in Imo State, was a Mathematics graduate from the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. He also attended St. Peter’s Seminary in Okigwe, also in Imo State.
An elder in his church, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the late G. O was last seen on Saturday, October 13, 2018, when he came to the church to observe choir rehearsals.
The elder said the church members were thrown into confusion when their pastor and his assistants did not show up for the service on Sunday, October 14, 2018. He added that when their absence was becoming worrisome, many of the church members’ started calling his mobile number but the calls were not returned.
He said, “I was the person that coordinated the service. It was a special service where our pastor was meant to pray for a particular women group led by one of our church members for the successful conduct of their 2018 August meeting.
“But when the service had gone half way without our pastor in the church, we all became worried and started calling his mobile number but he was not picking his calls. After a while, he sent a message to the woman that brought her group for prayers that we should go on with the church service, saying he went to camp for prayers.
“Personally, I wasn’t happy when I heard that because he has not done a thing like that in the past. Previously, before he leaves the town for any programme or even going to the mountain, he used to inform us. But be it as it may, we conducted the service and went home, expecting to see him in church during our Wednesday service but he didn’t show up too. We got the same message that we should carry on with our service again.
“For us, we thought we were speaking with our pastor not knowing it was his killers who were using his phone to deceive us until last Sunday morning when we came to church and heard the news of his death and that of the two other pastors. It was a big shock to us. All we did that Sunday was to cry because of their deaths.
“Even after we got to know that our pastor was dead, his killers were also calling and threatening some of our church members with his phone.
Alleged romance with church women leader
On the much rumoured romance between the deceased pastor and the church women leader, who owns a private school in Umuahia, the elder said the church had no knowledge of any alleged affairs between them.
He added that Ruth, a mother of three, was a dedicated member of the church who was its women leader before she was ordained a pastor in the church.
He said, “Sister Ruth, who was also killed with our pastors, was coming to church like any other person; she was our women leader and was recently ordained a pastor. Nobody has ever reported any ungodly relationship between her and our pastor.
Search for the missing pastors
Ambassador Kalu Ikeagu, the assistant pastor to Iwuanyanwu, had informed his family members that he would spend a night at his senior pastor’s house on Saturday, October 13, 2018, from where he would attend the church service on Sunday, October 14.
However, his mother and siblings became worried when he did not return to his family. His younger brother, Valentine, said Ambassador was not known for spending the night outside their home. He explained that to worsen the case, his cell phone indicated that it was switched-off.
Valentine explained that he also called the phone of Iwuanyanwu which ranged out several times, saying this forced him to send text messages which were not replied.
According to him, the search continued until last Thursday when he involved Ambassador’s girlfriend in the search for his brother. He added that the lady equally complained that she had called him and his boss for several times without reaching them within that week.
Valentine added, “On the same Thursday evening, my brother’s friend called and told me that Pastor Iwuayanwu called her and said Ambassador was with him and that they were together in a camp for a meeting.
“Then, last Friday, I contacted another Ambassador’s friends known as MOG, and complained to him. He was the one who visited pastor Iwuanyanwu’s house and perceived a bad odour from the compound from the gate which was locked.
“When he told me that, I asked him to report to the police because I was not in town. He went to the police station with my sister on Friday evening and lodged the complaint. So, on Saturday, the policemen visited the house; forced the gate open, and found the bodies of my brother, his pastor and the women leader.”
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