Yesterday, The Supreme Court has okayed the convicted General-Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a.k.a Rev. King to die by hanging. In a unanimous judgment Friday afternoon, a seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, upheld the death sentence that was earlier handed to Ezeugo by the Lagos State High Court.
Full Name: Chukwuemeka Ezeugo
Aliases: Reverend King;His Holiness
Designation: General Overseer, Christian Praying Assembly (CPA) Worldwide, Canal View Street, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
Education: Premier Primary School, Onitsha; read Psychology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State
Date first arraigned in court: September 26, 2006
Trial judge: Justice Joseph Oyewole of Lagos High Court
Charges: Six- count charge of attempted murder and murder
Verdict of High Court on January 11,2007: 20 years imprisonment for attempted murder and death by hanging for murder.
Verdict of Court of Appeal on February 1,2013: High Court judgment affirmed by Justices Fatima Akinbami, Amina Augie and Ibrahim Saulawa.
Verdict of Supreme Court on February 26,2016: Death sentence upheld.
*”I was arrested by heavily armed policemen who alleged that I poured fuel on some members of my church and set them ablaze. It was a very surprising thing to me and I was stunned when they came for me.”
*”In any case, why must I pour fuel on my worshippers? That day in question, 20 members of my church wedded and after that, I proceeded to my house. We were all feeling very happy. In my residence that evening, I heard shouts of Daddy. The screams came from one of my daughters (his female followers), Kelechi. I was wearing shorts and I ran down from upstairs.
*”I saw flames of fire on my daughter, Ann. When I came down, one man was helping to douse the fire on her, while some other people were there. I helped in drawing her to the tap, but the tap was not running. I was also praying while trying to save her. Fortunately, the fire went off.”
*”We then took her to the nearest hospital where she started receiving treatment.”
*”I am a preacher. I know that the spirit of witchcraft is against the Almighty God. If somebody is a liar, he is bewitching God. I don’t condone lie. Dr. King does not condone sin. I flog a lot. I have canes. If husband and wife mess up by having misunderstanding, I have to settle them.”
*”But the person that is at fault must be flogged. If the person refuses to be flogged, I will send him out of the church.”
I served Rev Emeka King while naked
A prosecution witness in the case against King, Susan Chizobar Onuorah, told the High Court that she was always stark naked whenever she wanted to serve him.
Led in evidence by the then Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Bola Okikiolu-Ighile, the witness said: “When I came to live with the accused (Rev. King), he told me that I would be his permanent maid and that I would agree not to marry.
“He said anytime I wanted to serve him, I must be stark naked which I did. No pants, no bra, I would be completely nude before him and I did this not once, not twice, but for several years.
“He also ordered me not to tell any member of my family where I was living. He gave me a ring which I always put on to indicate that I am his permanent maid and all this he made me to put into writing. I am a member of the Lord’s Army and we bully people, putting fear into them and molesting them.
“He is a very violent person; he would beat us mercilessly, and as a result, we always have wounds on our bodies. He called himself god, the owner of the universe and could do anything. We know this is not so, but out of fear, we could not challenge him.
“On the 22nd of July 2006, the day of the fire incident, a sister named Kelechi came to call me from the Boys’ Quarters of the accused’s house where we were staying. She said the accused wanted to see me.
“When I got to him, he did not even allow me to kneel down as we usually did when talking to him before he started beating me with stick, rod and anything he could find. I started crying, shouting and begging him not to kill me.
“It was then I noticed others who were there: Cosy, Chiejile, Jessica, Ann, Vivian and Kelechi. He accused me that I lied to him that Chiejile did not sleep with me, whereas Chiejile had confessed to him that he slept with me. But Chiejile never did. He only said that so that the accused would not kill him.
“He said he would kill all of us. He then asked Kelechi to go and bring fuel and matches, but when she brought them, he told her that the petrol was not enough and that she should go and bring more which was brought in a very large plastic container.
“He then marched us out of the room, saying he did not want to burn his rug and chairs. While we were outside his room, but within the church compound, Kelechi poured petrol on us on his orders and he struck the first match which did not catch fire.
“When he struck the second match, we were all engulfed in fire, but I did not know how I managed to escape from there and I ran back to our apartment. When I noticed that Ann had been taken to the hospital, I ran out in my night gown and I never came back to the church.
“I came out of the place by the grace of God. I am free now; I am no longer under the spell of the accused person.”
Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria not to make haste in carrying out the death sentence passed on Rev. Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, the General Overseer of Christian Praying Assembly, by the Supreme Court on Friday.
Leader of the group, Chief Udo Udeogaranya, made the appeal after the Supreme Court threw out Rev King’s appeal against the death sentence passed on him in 2007 by a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Joseph Oyewole.
Don’t kill Rev King, Igbo group begs FG
According to Udeogaranya, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government should “commute the sentence and grant him pardon as Nigeria stands to gain nothing by shedding blood.
“This plea is premised on the ground that many Nigerians still hold Rev. Ezeugo as their spiritual leader even in various prisons and that the initial trial in Lagos as purportedly put forward by his lawyer Mr. Olalekan Ojo and published by national dailies was a miscarriage of justice in which the lawyer made certain points that demanded a second thought.
“Ojo argued that his client did not commit the crime and was not at the scene of the incident. He insisted that the deceased, Ann Uzoh, had in two statements she made after the incident and before her death, stated that she got burnt in a generator accident and that the cleric was not responsible for her injuries.
“Ojo said the Investigating Police Officer, IPO, had tendered statements which stated that Ezeugo was not responsible for the burns that led to Uzoh’s death. He alleged that the trial Judge refused to admit in evidence, the statements he said exonerated Ezeugo of the crime.
“The lawyer further contended had those ‘vital exhibits’ been admitted rather than expunged by the trial judge, they would have operated to cast serious doubt on the case of the prosecution. He maintained that Justice Oyewole’s refusal to admit the exhibits in evidence ‘occasioned a great miscarriage of justice’ against his client.”