The presiding pastor of a new generation Church, Chidiebere Okoroafor, has been sentenced to death by hanging for multiple murders by a High Court in Port Harcourt. Pastor Okoroafor, who is the General Overseer of the Altar of Solution and Healing Assembly in Oyigbo, Rivers State, was convicted of killing his choir mistress, Orlunma Nwagba, whom he allegedly impregnated. He was also charged with the murder of Orlunma’s friend, Chigozie Ezenwa, and her 11-month-old baby girl, Cresabel, on December 11, 2017, in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The trial judge, S.O. Benson, stated in his verdict that the pastor’s own confessional statements and the evidence presented established his guilt. Justice Benson found the cleric guilty of murder and ordered that he be executed by hanging or, alternatively, by lethal injection.
The pastor was apprehended by the Rivers State Police Command on December 17, 2017, following a report by Chigozie’s husband about the killing of three individuals at two separate locations in Oyigbo LGA. The prosecution counsel from the state Ministry of Justice, Precious Ordu, expressed satisfaction with the judgment and remarked that it would serve as a deterrent to potential offenders. Ordu also expressed gratitude to the International Federation of Women Lawyers for bringing the case forward.
In response, the defendant’s counsel, Dr. Innocent Ekwu, announced their intention to appeal the judgment, claiming that the court had misunderstood the law. Ekwu highlighted the absence of eyewitnesses and circumstantial evidence linking the defendant to the murders and emphasized their belief in the defendant’s innocence. They plan to file a notice of appeal promptly, citing grounds on which they believe the defendant did not commit the crime and asserting that the trial court misinterpreted the facts and the law.