Abia pastor allegedly strangled two women and demanded N1.5m ransom

A pastor of the Apostolic Church of Umuahia, Salem Chigozirim, was arraigned in a High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, for allegedly strangling a 45-year-old housewife, Virginia Ndife, and a lady, Chioma Nwoke.

He was indicted on three counts bordering on murder and demanding a ransom.

Chigozirim allegedly strangled Virginia on September 21, 2021.

The husband of the deceased, Mr Christian Ndife, said his wife on the day of the incident went to their new house at 67 Agulu Street, Umuahia to carry out some work with the suspect, who was also a plumber.

Christian said he was at their family home when his daughter informed him that his wife had been killed.

He said, “I rushed home, only to see my wife’s lifeless body. I reported to the police and the DSS. After two weeks, the DSS captured the suspect.

“I saw that my wife was strangled with a blue bath sponge in the neck; the whole room was scattered. The accused wrote something on a sheet and placed on the floor that he was looking for documents and when he called my wife she told him to do his best.

“He said he did plumbing services for my wife and also sent the same message to my brother-in-law, Anthony Okeke, that he was looking for his keke documents.”

Chigozirim, during questioning by the DSS, allegedly confessed to the earlier killing of Chioma in August 2021.

The victim’s mother, Mrs Clementina Nwoke, a member of Chigozirim Church, said she was called on 20 August 2021, that her daughter, who lived in Owerri, Imo State, was not hadn’t been seen for a week.

“I started looking for her through DSS in Umuahia and Owerri. Later I got a message from my daughter’s phone that I had to pay 1.5 million naira. DSS asked me to offer N50,000; I offered N100,000. Using my daughter’s phone, he (the suspect) called me to come to Mbgoko Amiri in Obingwa LGA.

“When I got there, a voice told me where to put the money. Although I couldn’t see the person, I dropped the money at the foot of the pole I was directed to.

“I asked him about my daughter and he said after I deposited the money I would see her at Umuikea Junction. It was September 7, 2021. When I arrived at Umuikea Junction, I did not see my daughter.

“Towards the end of September, the DSS asked me to show them the photo of Chioma and then invited me to Umuahia, where I met two of my pastors, and we all went to see our apostle at World Bank estate, Umuahia”.

She said some of the church leaders later told her that Chioma’s rotting corpse was found in Mbano, Imo state.

Ms Nwoke said her daughter was strangled with a tie and ‘left upside down at the base of a tree’.

She said when the suspect was arrested for Virginia’s murder and his house was searched, he was caught with Chioma’s phone and bank card, adding that he withdrew a lot of money from the bank account of the deceased.

While in court, the accused informed the presiding judge, Uchechi Enwereji, that he had been photographed by some people, who had threatened to deal with him.

But the judge assured him that nothing would happen to him in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service.

The matter was adjourned to May 24, 2022.

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Copyright PUNCH.

All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the prior express written permission of PUNCH.

Contact: [email protected]

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