A pastor with a new generation church in Eneka, Obio/Akpor local government area of Rivers State, identified as Sodje Masodje, has been arrested by operatives of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, over the alleged disappearance of a 20-year-old undergraduate, Beauty Nwigbaranee.
It was gathered that Beauty a final year student of Education at the Rivers State University was said to have visited Pastor Masodje, who is suspected to be her lover on Christmas Day (25 December 2020) and has not been seen ever since.
Counsel to the missing girl’s family, Gobari Deebom, told journalists in Port Harcourt on Monday that it is a suspected case of abduction.
Deebom said the undergraduate had told some family members that she was going to visit the pastor, but that her parents became suspicious when he (cleric) called a few days later, asking for Beauty.
The lawyer said, “It is a suspected case of abduction since 25 December 2020 when she visited a pastor, also suspected to be her boyfriend or man friend.
“Since that 25 till 26, 27 December 2020 her phone went off. The pastor called the family members of Beauty asking for her whereabouts.
“They said Beauty told them that she was visiting him and that they have not seen her back home since then. He said okay Beauty is coming to see them. Though they should not disclose it to her father that they have not seen Beauty.
“They kept to that not until after four days when they didn’t see her, they contacted the father who now reported to the Nigerian Army 6 Division, Port Harcourt
“He was arrested and has been in their custody,” Deebom explained, but noted that he wants the police to take over the matter to pave the way for proper investigation.
“We know the Police is in charge of the criminal investigation. So, we are calling on the Commissioner of Police to take over the matter to see that justice is done and that the girl is brought back because since 26 December the family has not heard from her,” he added.
He further said Beauty’s siblings, her parents, as well as her friends, are in a state of confusion and are troubled, saying, “They want Beauty back alive.”
The lawyer said the family has expressed readiness to pay a ransom if she was kidnapped and has appealed to the pastor to open up to no avail.
“That is why we are calling on the Nigeria Police to take over the matter and carry out an independent investigation to ensure that justice is done for her to come back, continue her education and be a useful person to the society.”
Efforts to reach the Spokesman of the 6 Division, Major Charles Ekeocha, for confirmation, proved abortive as he neither answered his phone nor replied to a text message sent to his mobile by our newsmen at the time of filing this report.
When contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Nnamdi Omoni, said the matter has not been reported to the Command, saying, “If they didn’t report to the police how can we be aware? Let them (family) do a formal petition to the Commissioner of Police. When that is done, the command knows how to go about it.”