A MAN who claimed to have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years and was on the run for sometime now is cooling his heels in the custody of the Imo State Police Command, Owerri.
Until his arrest, 45-year-old Delight Arinze Okorie, told Sunday Sunreporter in Owerri that he was the pastor-in-charge of Watered Ground Ministry.
He said: “I have been in pastoral ministry for over 10 years. When some of my members or the friends they bring, come to tell me about their problems, I always give them fake prophecies. If I discover that they have money, I use the opportunity to rob them by setting them up with the fake prophecies.”
As Sunday Sun further learnt in an interview with the Commissioner of Police, Imo State, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, this was the strategy Okorie deployed in deceiving, robbing and attempting to murder one member of the church, 35-year-old Mrs. Chioma Oleka at Atta in Ihennasa, Njaba Local Government Area, Imo State, by falsely claiming that she was possessed with a mermaid (marine) spirit.
Lakanu explained that on May 25, 2016, Okorie lured Oleka to Nwangele river, where she was to ostensibly undergo special deliverance prayer. The lady drove her Lexus SUV with a Rivers State registration number, KPR 243HF to keep the appointment for prayers and deliverance.
Hear Okorie say what followed thereafter: “As we were praying on the bridge, I went to the back of the vehicle and picked up a machete. I gave her several cuts all over her body with the intention to kill her. Then I pushed her from the top of the bridge into the river for her to drown. Some members of my gang, who pretend to be members of my church, who went with me then escaped with the SUV, when we sighted a police patrol team.”
Unfortunately for Okorie and the gang, Oleka miraculously survived the vicious attack and fall into the river as she did not drown. Rather she pretended to have died.
Recalling her fortuitous survival of the horrendous experience she passed through, Oleka told Sunday Sun: “Before this thing happened I had been attending Watered Ground Ministry, the church headed by Pastor Okorie. He always prophesied in the church and one day he said that I had a mermaid (marine or mammywater) spirit. He said I had to go for special deliverance prayer not knowing that he wanted to rob and murder me. During the prayer session, he suddenly pushed me from the top of the bridge into the river. He gave me machete cuts thinking that I would die. But a police patrol team rescued me, took me to the hospital. I think I have learnt my lesson, that there are many false pastors all over the place; we need God’s intervention.”
After their successful escape from the crime scene, Okorie and his gang members continued their operations for several months thinking that the chapter had been closed on what they did to Oleka.
However, providence was patiently waiting to expose them. That day arrived when Oleka began to recover from the attack while still in the hospital. When she was strong enough to talk with police detectives investigating the case, she recounted what happened and gave the police the registration number of the car. For a while, the police kept Okorie under surveillance and then moved in to arrest him. During interrogation, he sang like a canary and revealed his alleged past escapades in crime, robbery, kidnapping and murder.
With information obtained from Okorie and the other members of his gang, the police recovered the Lexus SUV as well as the arms and ammunition of the gang.