A 42-year-old pastor, Peter Ododa of the Holy Family Prayer Ministry, New Karu, Nasarawa State, yesterday appeared before Justice Vincent Gwahenba of Mararaba Upper Area Court for the alleged abduction of one Grace Okpara.
Counsel to Mr. Nnamdi Okpara, the complainant and husband of Grace, Mr. Sunday Ijiga, told the court that the accused abducted his client’s wife sometime in 2010, saying the complainant got married to Grace in March, 2008 and shortly after their wedding, Grace discovered the church and introduced her husband to the accused.
“Since we got married in 2008, we have been living peacefully until she was introduced to the prayer ministry by one of her relatives and she started misbehaving,” the complainant said.
He alleged that the pastor told his wife that there was no spiritual guidance in their marriage and, therefore, asked her to leave the house to avoid ungodly acts that could lead her to regret thereafter. The complainant said his wife told him that the pastor advised her to leave the marriage because he was not her husband.
Okpara further alleged that the pastor said since their wedding was not conducted in the church, she was not legally married.
“When I noticed some changes in her behaviour, I stopped her from attending the prayer ministry but she insisted on going,” the complainant said, adding that the pastor always invited Grace while he was away and sometimes made calls to her asking her to meet him.
The complainant alleged that the accused finally abducted his wife in 2010 while he was away on an official assignment in Delta State and that all efforts made to trace her whereabouts failed.
“When I came back, I went to the hakimi (district head) of New Karu, the director of social welfare board of Karu Local Government and the CAN chairman, to assist me get my wife back,” he explained, saying all efforts however proved abortive as his wife was yet to return to him, hence the decision to bring the matter to court.
The pastor however pleaded not guilty when the charge was read, following which the judge granted him bail in the sum of N200,000 with a surety, who should live within the jurisdiction of the court, in like sum.
He adjourned the case to January 25 for continuation of hearing.