12 January 2007

Nigeria: Rev King to Die By Hanging - Rev. King

Lagos — Self acclaimed prophet and the General Overseer of the Christian Praying Assembly, Ajao Estate in Lagos, Emeka Ezeugo popularly known as Reverend King was yesterday sentenced to death by hanging by a Lagos high court.

King, who subjected his female worshippers to sexual orgies, is to die by hanging as a result of the death of a member of his church, Ann Uzor.

He also got 20-year jail term on each of the five-count charge of attempted murder preferred against him.

But the controversial pastor said he is not afraid to die.

In a tension soaked judgement which lasted for 2 hours, 30minutes,the Presiding Judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole held that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the pastor is guilty of the heinous offence.

Puncturing the earlier argument of King's lawyer, Oyewole said the entire defence was based on tissue of lies and fabrication, some of which according to him "bordered on realm of fantasy."

According to the Judge, the religious fundamentalism that gave rise to the offence committed by Pastor King has not done the society any good.

"It is sad that Nigerian society is bugged down by many problems that drag the citizens to religious highways like this one who offer them stone for bread and snake for meat."

He further said the action of Reverend King proved that he is an arrogant, wicked and unrepentant lot whose existence will continue to pose severe threat to the society.

"I hereby ordered that he be hanged by the neck until he is certified death,' he said

Shortly after the judgement was delivered, King defiantly told reporters at the court premises that he was not afraid to die.

According to him, he will be happy to die by hanging adding that the gesture will buttress that he is a true follower of Jesus Christ who was also hanged.

He further chastised authorities and law enforcement agents for meddling into the affairs of his church saying that, "it is nobody's business if I slap members of my church".

The self styled prophet had been facing six-count charge since September 2006 over an alleged murder of a member of his church, Miss Ann Uzor, and attempted murder of five other members.

The late Ann was one of the victims King allegedly set ablaze by pouring jerry can of petrol on them on July 22,last year.

The five other persons King allegedly attempted to kill by causing petrol on them, according to the charge include, Olisa Chiejina, Onuorah Chisobah, Vivian Eseocha, Jessica Nwene and Kosisochukwu Ezenwankwo.

Vivian Ezeocha and Kelechi King, the principal witnesses narrated to the court how the accused turned them to sex toys by subjecting them to inhuman sex orgies.

Kelechi King in her gory account told the court how she had aborted four pregnancies for the heavily bearded self-acclaimed "God".

She also told the court some startling revelations of how the accused made her denounce her family and how she served him as his maid stark naked.

On the incident that lead to the death of Ann King, almost all the prosecution witnesses corroborated the fact that Rev. King actually set them on fire by pouring fuel on them. They also told the court that on the said date, Rev. King gathered them together in his house over allegations that they were committing fornication in his house, an allegation they all denied.

In the trial, which lasted for over 3 months, prosecution team invited 12 witnesses including five of the victims of the alleged burning to buttress their allegation.

The pastor however testified in person and called eight other witnesses to prove his innocence.

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