The Police Command in Cross River on Tuesday paraded a pastor, Tony Obo-Ekpeyong, for allegedly being in possession of the heart of an 18-month-old baby girl whom he killed.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Mr. Obo-Ekpeyong is the pastor of Royal God’s Commandment Ministry, Calabar.
Parading the suspect, the spokesperson of the command, Irene Ugbo, said that the suspect was arrested alongside six others on Aug. 24 by men of the command.
Ms. Ugbo said that they were arrested when the parents of the deceased raised an alarm that their child had been abducted by some masked men who stormed their house.
She said some operatives were immediately deployed to search the church and its environ, and that they found some incriminating items and arrested the pastor and six others.
“On August 24, we received a distress call that one pastor in a church in Calabar South had killed a baby girl, aged one year and six months.
“When we got there, the heart of the child was still shaking. The suspect lied that the heart was that of a fowl.
“We have sent the heart to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital for proper analysis.
“We actually heard some rumours that the police have collected money to release the suspects.
“We have called the press here today for the world to know that the suspects are still in our custody and investigation is ongoing.
“The police cannot release murder, kidnap or other categories of suspects without due process. We are going to charge the suspects to court immediately,’’ she said.
The suspect, however, denied the allegation, saying, “I was praying for one of our members who was sick when the police came and arrested me.
“The heart they saw was that of a fowl. We don’t operate any spiritual shrine in the church.
“The thick blood that was seen on the altar was that of a goat and a fowl that we killed to celebrate with our members after our three-day fasting programme.’’
Faith Inyang, the 20-year-old mother of the baby, corroborated what the police said.
Ms. Inyang added: “I recognised one of the men because of his stature; he lives around our area and he normally passes through our house.
“Up till now, I have not seen the body of my daughter apart from the heart that was found there.”