A member of a new generation church in Asaba, Delta State, called Apostle Paul, has been arrested after a missing young woman was found in his shop one week after she was declared missing by her family.
The police said the young woman, identified simply as Faith, was found behaving erratically as if she was mentally unstable.
Paul is said to be a popular “prayer warrior” in the church, who makes a living by selling water and anointing oil opposite the church.
The police were alerted by the Behind Bars Initiative in Asaba, Delta Sate, after the NGO was hinted that the girl was found in Paul’s shop.
A human rights activist, who runs the NGO, Gwamnishu Harrison, told Saturday Punch that one week after Faith was declared missing by her family, someone who knew her saw her in the shop and quickly alerted her family.
“We received an SOS from a young boy who was referred to our base in Onitsha, Anambra State, to help rescue 21-year-old Faith, who had been missing since Friday, January 12, 2018.
“She was found by someone who knew her. When the person who saw her in the shop greeted her, she did not give any sign that she recognised the person or seemed to care when she was told that her family was looking for her. That was when the person knew something was wrong.
“We learnt that the suspect even has a church of his own. He is also a member of a church opposite his shop in Asaba, Delta State, where he is a notable prayer warrior.
“We arrived the church along Ibusa Road, Asabaat about 3pm and we saw the girl inside. Surprisingly, she was behaving strangely like someone mentally unstable.
“Looking at the girl, we noticed she was not behaving normally, she could not leave the presence of the pastor. We observed that everywhere the man went, she followed. She followed his every moves.
“The family said she was perfectly fine when she went missing and had no history of a mental illness.”
Harrison said once they attempted to approach the suspect, he fled into the church premises.
He explained that trouble started when an operative of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps refused to produce the pastor to hand him over to the police.
Harrison alleged that the unidentified official threatened to shoot him if he made an attempt to come into the church presmises.
“Other pastors and security guards told us that the case would be handled by the church council and no police had the right to arrest someone inside the church.
“I left immediately to A Division, where the missing person’s case had been reported. The police followed me back to the church and got the pastor arrested.”
According to him, after the arrest, the pastor was taken to his “hideout” along Ibusa Road where women’s clothes were found inside a bag.
The pastor reportedly told the police that God had revealed to him that the girl was his wife. He was quoted as saying, “I had asked God for a young girl for marriage. Nothing can separate us.”
The police at A Division, Asaba, said that a test carried out on the victim, showed signs of forceful penetration.
“The victim was taken to a hospital and tests were carried out on her. The tests showed that she was a virgin and the hymen had been torn. He would be charged with abduction and rape on Monday,” a police investigator, who spoke on a condition anonymity, said.