By Dayo Johnson, Akure
IT was a job that was to fetch him N300,000. But the table was turned and, instead, a 44-year-old ex-convict, Festus Balogun, ended up in police detention where he is cooling his feet. For months, the suspect had been on the wanted list of Ondo State Police Command as detectives tried to smoke him out of his hideout, following complaints by some pastors of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) that someone was blackmailing them for pecuniary gains.
The suspect, aka “Smart”, released from Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons in December, last year, had released a compact disk (video) in which he allegedly blackmailed the 12 pastors of the church.
Balogun said he was lured into the blackmail by the marketer, who promised him an initial reward of N300,000 with more to come subsequently.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that the marketer, in conjunction with the suspect, rolled out the CD, titled, Asiri Tu (secret exposed), in which he claimed that 12 prominent pastors engaged him to kill for them to gain spiritual power.
The suspect alleged that the pastors were involved in ritual killing and other fetish acts.
“Some prominent men of God, numbering 12 and namely: Pastor Samson Olueamodede of Prayer Centre Church of God, Idanre Road, Akure and Pastor Samuel Kayode Abiara, the General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide and ten others, engaged him to kill for them to gain spiritual power”, a police source said.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard when he was paraded by the police in Akure, the suspect confessed to the alleged crime and admitted that he was convicted for cultism and imprisoned in the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons in the past.
Balogun said he had never been in contact with any of the men of God he made the allegations against in his video and had never killed in his life. He said that all what he alleged in the video were lies in a bid to make money from the victims.
The suspect denied that he was sponsored by other pastors to tarnish the image of the CAC pastors. The suspect said he saw it as a means to make quick money for his survival after his jail experience.
Balogun claimed that he was induced by a marketer in Ibafo, Ogun State, who promised to reward him with N300, 000 for the CD. A source said the suspect had given useful information on how the fleeing marketer and producer would be apprehended by the police. He regretted that the marketer, after the release of the video, went underground. Balogun explained that “ the marketer has not given me anything after the video was released”.
He however pleaded that the pastors that were blackmailed should “ find a place in their hearts to forgive him” One of the 12 pastors that were blackmailed, Oluwamodede, who came to witness the confession” of the suspect, declared that he had forgiven his blackmailer. The pastor said God had vindicated him and his colleagues. He, however, urged security agencies to ensure that people who engage in such blackmailing acts are dealt with as specified by the law, so that it will serve as deterrent to others.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard after the suspect was paraded, the state Police Commissioner, Mike Ogbodu, said the “ video CD was released and sold within and outside the country.”