Delta police declare general overseer wanted after it emerges he was the head of a kidnapping gang

OFFICERS of the Delta State Police Command have launched a manhunt for the general overseer of the Royal Life Assembly Church in Asaba Pastor Sunday Ekezie after it emerged he is the kingpin of a kidnapping ring operating in the state.


Pastor Ekezie and several members of his congregation are now wanted following a botched  kidnapping plot in which the abductors demanded a staggering N100m ransom. Several members of the gang, all of whom are members of the congregation, are currently on the run, after a few were nabbed by detectives from A Divisional Police Station of the Delta State Police Command.


Said to be the mastermind of the abduction, Pastor Ekezie has been indicted by some of his parishioners who are already in police custody.  Those arrested included his girlfriend Victoria Nwabuzor, 40 and his aide Ogochukwu Onyenache, 30, who in their confessions explained their motivation and the role they played in the kidnapping of a church member.


Apparently, Rosemary Ifeanyi, 32, was abducted and held hostage inside Achalla-Ibusa Forest for a ransom of N100m. Mohammed Mustafa, the Delta State police commissioner, said the saga happened on June 6, after the victim closed from her shop and was about to enter Tony Osadebe Street, Asaba.


He added that a red Rav 4 SUV reportedly blocked her path and seconds later, three young men forcefully abducted her. Tied and blindfolded, Ms Ifeanyi's abductors took her to the home of Ogochukwu Onyenachi, where she was fed for the next few hours before she was taken into Achalla-Ibusa forest.


In the meantime, her husband, Mike Ifeanyi had gone to the police station to report his missing wife. He was on the premises of the station when his phone rang and the kidnapper demanded a ransom of N100m.


However, the station’s divisional police officer Temitope Fatugba and his team then got on the trail of the kidnappers and three days later, arrested Mr Onyenachi after a brief gun duel close to Royal Life Assembly Church. The plot fell apart with the arrest and confession of Mr Onyenache, who indicted Pastor Ekezie, as the mastermind of the kidnap.


Mr Onyenache also fingered another church member, Abagi. Subsequently, he took detectives to the Achalla-Ibusa Forest where the hostage was rescued unhurt from the other kidnappers who are currently on the run.


After further investigation, detectives also arrested Ms Nwabuzor, alleged to be the cleric’s girlfriend and an accomplice. According to Mr Mustafa, detectives from A Division who went to the house of the clergyman discovered that he had absconded with his wife and children.