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Sunday, 3 February 2013
Church youth leader by day and an armed robber by night
Nemesis has caught up with a youth leader of the Living Faith Church in Okene, Kogi State, who professed to be a born-again Christian but was the leader of a 10-man robbery gang. The suspect (name withheld) who was described as very popular in the area, allegedly led his gang to break into the office of the pastor of the church in the night and carted away over N315,000 belonging to the church.
Ironically, he was one of the early callers to the church the next morning, and joined in raining curses on the perpetrators of the crime. Parading the suspects yesterday, at the police headquarters in Lokoja, the state Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Musa Katsina, described the arrested suspects as a sledgehammer robbery gang. He said that the youth leader, “who led the robbery operation was seen the following morning, raining curses on the robbers and even invoking Holy Ghost fire on them, and now, the Holy Ghost fire has caught up with him.”
He said that the gang made up of bricklayers and block moulders specialize in breaking into shops and private residences, carting away goods and money. The Commissioner stated that the suspects were armed with guns and other dangerous weapons during their operations He said that they normally disguise as casual labourers going around residences and shops in search of potential victims. The police boss said the mother of the gang leader is a chorister in the same church. Answering reporters’ questions, the arrested youth leader confessed that he played the born-again youth leader in the day, and armed robber at night.
He confessed that he has led 27 robberies within Okene and Lokoja as well as Adavi local government areas. The Assistant Pastor of the church, Pastor Aloysius Momoh, who expressed surprise at the youth leader’s involvement in the crime, said that the church went into seven-day prayer and fasting shortly after the church was robbed, and God warned those behind the dastardly act to repent between May and December, last year, or be disgraced. One of the victims, Paul Ikunagus, said over N2 million cash was stolen from his shop while one of them said he lost N5.8 million to the robbers who invaded his shop last December.
All the victims who spoke to Sunday Sun commended the police in the state under the leadership of Musa Katsina for bringing the elusive gang members to book. Items recovered from the suspects included one locally made gun, a jerk knife, two big hammers, handsets and clothes.