In Ekiti, Pastor’s Murder Stokes Anger

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Victor Ogunje

By The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ekiti State, yesterday expressed concern about the alarming rate of kidnapping and killing in the country, saying it was pathetic that nobody is safe again in Nigeria.

CAN, an umbrella organisation of all Christian denominations, raised the alarm after gunmen suspected to be kidnappers killed a pastor, Revd Johnson Oladimeji while travelling along Igbara-Odo- Ikere-Ekiti road Friday evening.

The Chairman of Ekiti CAN, Revd Father Peter Olowolafe urged President Muhammad Buhari and Governor Kayode Fayemi to rise up and protect the people from senseless carnage in the hands of marauders.

He lamented that Oladimeji’s killing took place a day after a monarch was killed in Ondo State, which according to him, called for strategic and tactical partnership among all states in the South-west.

He, therefore, challenged all the governors of the Southwest state “to reposition the Amotekun security network and make it rise to the occasion of checkmating criminalities in the southwest region.”

Oladimeji, a presiding cleric of Solution Baptist Church, Ikere-Ekiti was allegedly killed along the road by suspected kidnappers Friday evening when he was returning to Ikere-Ekiti after an official assignment in Osun State.

A source in his church, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the family members launched a search for the pastor on Friday before his corpse was found in his car along the road with gunshot wounds.

He said: “The man was returning from Osun state on Thursday evening and decided to make use of the Igbara-Odo route to Ikere-Ekiti when he was ambushed and shot dead by gunmen in the evening.

“After a series of calls to his phone numbers with no response, members of the church decided to start searching for him and he was found dead this evening (Friday) in his car along the road close to the University of Education and Technology in Ikere-Ekiti.”

The source explained that the incident was reported at the Igbara-Odo police station before his corpse was evacuated to the morgue.

Confirming the killing, the President of Ekiti Baptist Church, Revd Adeyinka Aribasoye, said the deceased had traveled to see his mother at Ipetu Ijesha in Osun State and was returning from the journey when the incident occurred.

He said the incident “is synonymous to a kidnapping case that went wrong, maybe he refused to stop for the abductors thus making them open fire on him.

“The family were already expecting him but when they found out that he was taking too late they began to make a series of contacts and search before they found out that he had been killed on the road.”

But, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) ASP Sunday Abutu told journalists he was not aware of the incident.

Abutu said: “I am not aware of such an incident. I will have to make my findings. But I can assure you that if we are informed of the incident, our command will commence Investigation immediately in a bid to arrest the perpetrators of the dastardly act.”

But the CAN leader said what was happening in the southwest was an extension of the pervasive incursion of insurgency. banditry and kidnappers in the Northeast and Northwest parts of the country, which he said, should be nipped in the bud to safeguard the country from imminent collapse.

He said: ”It is sad that nobody is safe in Nigeria again. We are all endangered, but our leaders must rise up and live up to their promises during the campaign to protect the lives and property of the citizens.

“To us in the CAN, we are grieved at Oladimeji’s death and Fayemi must do all within his powers to make Ekiti safe. Though he has been trying , making Ekiti one of the peaceful states in Nigeria, but the recent ugly trends must be halted.

“About two days ago, a prominent monarch was killed in Ondo State by gunmen and the wife of the Chief of Staff to Ondo State Governor was kidnapped and we have not heard anything about it.

“The southwest governors must reposition the Amotekun corps. They must empower the operatives to be able to live up to the mandate for which they were created. Our people must be saved. We must all sleep with our two eyes closed.

“What we are seeing here is an extension of the general insecurity we are experiencing in Nigeria. Security of lives and property is key to good governance and our governments must not fail in this regard.”