Court Sentences Port Harcourt Pastor to Death
In a landmark ruling, the High Court in Port Harcourt has handed down a death sentence by hanging to Pastor Chidiebere Okoroafor, the presiding pastor of Altar of Solution and Healing Assembly. The prominent figure in the religious community was found guilty of multiple murders, including the killing of his choir mistress, Orlunma Nwagba, whom he allegedly impregnated.
The tragic incident took place on December 11, 2017, in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, where the pastor’s church is located. Alongside the murder of Orlunma Nwagba, Pastor Okoroafor was also charged with the murders of Orlunma’s friend, Chigozie Ezenwa, and her 11-month-old baby girl, Cresabel.
After meticulously reviewing the evidence and the pastor’s confessional statements, the trial judge, S.O Benson, ruled that the prosecution had convincingly demonstrated the pastor’s culpability. Justice Benson unequivocally stated that the pastor committed the crimes in question. Consequently, the court ordered the pastor to be executed by hanging or, alternatively, by lethal injection.
It was revealed that the victims had visited the pastor’s residence in Oyigbo for a discussion regarding the alleged pregnancy. Shockingly, the pastor deceitfully led them to a remote area where the tragic events unfolded.
Following an alarm raised by Chigozie’s husband, the Rivers State Police Command apprehended Pastor Okoroafor on December 17, 2017. The diligent work of law enforcement ultimately brought the case to court, culminating in the recent verdict.
Expressing satisfaction with the judgement, Precious Ordu, the prosecution counsel from the state Ministry of Justice, spoke to reporters outside the courtroom. Ordu acknowledged that the prosecution had encountered numerous threats during the trial but expressed relief that justice had been served. He added, “This ruling will serve as a deterrent to all those contemplating similar offenses, as it upholds justice for all.”
In response to the ruling, Dr. Innocent Ekwu, counsel to the defendant, confirmed that he and his legal team would be appealing the decision. Ekwu argued that the court had misconstrued the law, asserting that there were no eyewitnesses or circumstantial evidence linking his client to the murders. He emphasized their intention to swiftly file a notice of appeal, highlighting the grounds on which they believe the defendant is innocent and asserting that the trial court had misunderstood the facts and the law.
As this case continues to reverberate through the legal system, it stands as a significant moment for the administration of justice and an indelible reminder of the devastating consequences of heinous crimes.