Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
The Ogun State Police Command has arrested a pastor at Holy Gathering Evangelical Church of God, Papalanto, Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state, Oluwatobiloba Ipense, for allegedly killing his lover, Raliat Sanni, for ritual purposes.
The suspect, police claimed, beheaded the victim, severed the two hands and buried the body on his uncompleted church premises.
The corpse of the deceased was buried in one of the rooms close to the church altar.
Sanni was said to be a divorcee, hairdresser and mother of five children.
Thousands of residents of Papalanto, a community bordering Lafarge Cement Company, trooped out on Tuesday when the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, led journalists to the crime scene.
Iliyasu, who supervised the exhumation of the decapitated body of the victim, said the suspect and his accomplice, Daniel Sopeju, who claimed to be a prophet in another white garment church, were arrested on March 26, 2018.
The police boss said the command received a report of a missing person at its divisional headquarters in Ewekoro on Monday, March 26, and swung into action.
He said, “The case was reported by one Adebola Saheed that his younger sister, Raliat Sanni, left home since March 21 and had yet to return.
“On the strength of the report, our operatives at the Ewekoro division, led by the Divisional Police Officer, Oluwarotimi Jeje, swung into action and embarked on technical intelligence investigation.”
Iliyasu said the suspect was arrested following a discreet analysis of facts surrounding the disappearance of the victim, as he was the last person that had contact with her.
According to Iliyasu, the suspect was a pastor in charge of Cherubim & Seraphim, a white garment church, at the Elebute area of Ewekoro.
He added that in the course of interrogation, the pastor confessed to killing the victim and burying her in his church after removing her head and two hands for reasons “only known to him and God.”
He said Ipense also mentioned Pastor David Sopeju of Iyana Egbado as his accomplice.
Iliyasu described the act as “the height of wickedness” that could be meted out to a fellow human being.
He claimed that the victim was a “secret lover” of the pastor.
The police boss disclosed that forensic investigation into the case had commenced, adding that the suspects would be charged to court.
While speaking with journalists, Ipense denied the allegation that he killed the victim, saying his accomplice, Sopeju, was responsible for her death.
He claimed that Sopeju led seven members of a cult to his house with the aim of luring him to become a member.
Ipense, who claimed to be teaching Accounting and Commerce at a private secondary school at Arigbajo, said the cult had earlier asked him to submit the names of his church members from which he alleged that they eventually picked Raliat’s name.
He said, “It is not true that I killed the woman. It was one Mr Daniel Sopeju and a woman that wanted to make me join their cult and they said that they were going to collect a ransom.
“So they collected the names of my members and picked the name of Raliat Sanni. Having mentioned her name, they asked me where she was living and I told them that she was living in Wasinmi. They later got her and brought her to my church.
“They used a red cloth to cover her face and Mr Sopeju brought out a knife and beheaded the woman. After beheading her, he collected her blood and put it in seven calabashes.
“He later put her head and severed hands in a white calabash.”
He further explained that the group told him that the severed head and hands would be shared by members of the occultic group.
When confronted with these allegations, Sopeju denied it.
He, however, admitted that they all belonged to white garment churches’ association in the area. (Punch)