…Deceased relations seek release of corpse
By Albert Akpor
PERHAPS, the biblical injunction, â€œto err is human and to forgive, devine,â€ was the highpoint of the parting words of the wife of a prominent Onitsha, Anambra state based Bishop and General Overseer (G.O) of a popular Pentecostal church (names withheld) who made a bizarre confession of her role s in the kidnap and gruesome murder of a pastor serving in their church
shortly before she gave up the ghost.
The deceased cleric identified as Pastor David Odukwe was reportedly kidnaped and later found dead few meters away from the church while allegedly taking the children of the Bishop to school about seven months ago.Â The sacrilegious killing reportedly took place two weeks to the deceasedâ€™s being consecrated a Bishop.
Reports said that he was lured from Cote Dâ€™ Ivore where he was pasturing his church to Nigeria by the General Oversear of the Onitsha based Pentecostal church to consecrate him (the deceased)Â a Bishop on the condition that he relinquishes ownership of the Cote Dâ€™ Ivore based church.Â But trouble started for the deceased Pastor and a widower after he reportedly developed
interest in remarrying the Bishopâ€™s daughter.
This claims were however dismissed as â€œunfounded and mischievousâ€ by the church through their lawyer in an earlier publication.Â Â Â Though the police from the 33 Divisional Headquarters in the state immediately swung into action after the lifeless body of the pastor was discovered, sources said the church, through the G.O,. used his influence and transferred the case file to the Zone 9, Command Headquarters in Umuahia in a ridiculous manner
to the chagrin of the 33 Divisional Police Officer (DPO) who reportedly felt that the transfer of the case even before investigations commenced, was calculated at truncating in-depth probe of the death of the Pastor.
However, a twist was said to had been added to the whole matter recently when the wife of the G.O. who had been bedridden for some months now called together some ministers of the church and confessed on her sick bed that she and her husband actually plotted the kidnap of the deceased cleric so as to prevent him from marrying their daughter.
According to the source, before she gave up the ghost, she repoirtedly begged God for forgiveness saying that their intention was not to take the life of the cleric adding however,Â that it was the kidnappers who did an amateurish job.
â€œPlease I want God to forgive me for what we did to Pastor David.Â What we wanted was to stop him from marrying our daughter.Â Â Unfortunately, the kidnappers killed him in the process. I also want my daughter to forgive us because all I wanted for her was the best,â€ she reportedly lamented.
Meanwhile, the eldest brother to the murdered pastor, chief Andrew Odukwe said he was optimistic that his late brother would avenge his untimely death noting that all that had hands in the death would go one after the other.Â Â He however, expressed the familyâ€™s concern over the non-release of the corpse to them for burial.
Chief Odukwe alleged that even after the autopsy clearly pointed to the fact that his late junior brotherÂ was strangled, the church has refused to release the corpse to them on the ground that the body belong to the church.Â He insisted that the fact that David served and died in the church did not
make him a slave to the church.
â€œ Like I always tell people, if you take an innocent life, God who gave live made it clear that the wages for such action is death.Â And I know that my brother, wherever he is now, will not rest until he avenges those who sent him to an untimely grave.Â But a major problem now is that we want the remains of our junior brother laid to rest and that is what we are frantically fighting for.
The church is saying that the body belong to them and therefore ,if at all the body will be released to us,Â we must sign an undertaking to that effect.Â And we found that very absurd because that David served the church and died in the course does not make him a slave to the church.
It is an abomination in Orafite where I come from.Â The matter has since been in zone 9 command headquarters Umuahia, and the autopsy has shown that my younger brother was strangled, suffocated and beaten to death.Â So, what I do not understand is the continued retention of the corpse.Â We want to bury him so that his soul will rest in peace,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, sympathizers have continued to throng the church to commiserate with the Bishop and members of the family.Â A
source at the church confirmed that, â€œMummy knew that she was leaving this earth when she called together some ministers to tell them that she had finished her work on earth and urged them to be steadfast in prayers.Â Another thing she did as a true woman of God is her confession of her roles in the death of Pastor David.â€
However, at the police command headquarter Awka, the Police Public Relations Officer,Â ASP Emeka Chukwuemeka who confirmed the death of the wife of the Bishop however said he was not aware of the confession that she conspired to murder Pastor David stressing, â€œ Yes, I am aware that she is dead and I equally heard she knew she was going to die when she called together some ministers to say that she had finished her work on earth.
But what I do not know is the other side of the alleged confession
that she had hands in the murder of the Pastor.â€