Port Harcourt—A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced a pastor, Chidiebere Okoroafor, to death by hanging for murder, the Punch newspaper reports.
Okoroafor, who is the General Overseer of the Altar of Solution and Healing Assembly based in Oyigbo, Rivers State was tried for killing his choir mistress, Orlunma Nwagba, who he allegedly impregnated.
He also faced murder charges for the killing of Nwagba’s friend, Chigozie Ezenwa, and her eleven-month-old daughter, Cresabel, on December 11, 2017, in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
The trial judge, S.O. Benson, said the evidence and confessional statements from the pastor showed that he committed the crimes.
Justice Benson said the prosecution proved the case of murder against the cleric and ordered that he should be killed by hanging him by the neck until he is dead or should be injected with a lethal injection which also kills faster.
According to the report, the women had visited the pastor’s house in Oyigbo for a discussion on the said pregnancy when he tricked them into a bush and allegedly committed the act in two different locations.
Men of the Rivers State Police Command had on December 17, 2017, arrested Okoroafor following an alarm raised by Ezenwa’s husband over the killing of the three persons.
Speaking to journalists outside the courtroom, the prosecution counsel from the state Ministry of Justice, Precious Ordu, expressed happiness over the judgment.
While noting that the prosecution received several threats in the course of the trial, Ordu expressed delight that justice has prevailed
“Justice has been served to the state, the complainant and the convict.
“This will serve as a deterrent to all those who intend to commit the same offence because it is justice for all,” he said.
On his part, counsel for the defendant, Innocent Ekwu, said he and his team would appeal the judgment.
“We, as counsel for the defendant, have decided to appeal the case. We are going to file our notice of appeal as quickly as possible because we have grounds on which we believe that the defendant did not commit the offence,” he said.