Pastor Ernest Nwankwo of the Holy Family Ministry, a.k.a House of Mercy, who is the alleged owner of the kidnappers’ den uncovered in Majidun area of Ikorodu, Lagos State on June 25, has been arrested by the police.
It was reported on June 25 that the Pastor took to his heels after a kidnapper also a church member identified as Rosemary Chukwu was caught by residents with her neighbour’s six-year-old son hidden in a box who had gone missing escaped lynching not after confessing that her pastor Ernest Nwankwo had sent her to kidnap the boy for ritual purpose.
According to Vanguard, Nwankwo, who was arrested around Ebute Metta area of Lagos yesterday following a tip off by operatives of the SCID, is currently at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba, Lagos.
50-year-old Pastor Nwankwo, an indigene of Nsugbe, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, has since denied that the building on 7, Oshodi Street in Ikorodu, where eight victims were found is a ritualists’ den. He said the building was used to keep lunatics.
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Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide confirmed the arrest saying: “Yes, the Pastor has been arrested today around Ebute Metta.”
It was reported that after the kidnapper’s confession she was said to have led the mob to the church, the mob forced their way into a house near the church, but discovered that the prophet had fled. They were said to have found in the house photographs of previously missing people, mats, calabashes containing unknown substances and eight other victims including a 52-year-old man who said he was a commercial bus driver and was kidnapped two years ago.
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The captives upon interrogation said they were kidnapped from various places like Ogun, Anambra, Bayelsa and Oyo states. One of the captives, a 50-year-old woman said she was kidnapped while returning from a night vigil.
Residents in the area said the building owned by the pastor had always been under suspicion as no one ever saw anyone coming out or going in during the day. They said most of the activities carried out in the building is usually done at night.
According to a resident: “They don’t hold service on Sundays, only on Tuesday and Thursday. The pastor claims to treat mad men.”
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