The police in Lagos have arrested a Celestial Church pastor Ejiro Ologonla, 45, over his alleged connection to the disappearance of a 29-year-old student at Oniru Beach last December.

The student Olatunfe Anthony Oluwafemi went missing around 2pm on December 12, after he was sent on an errand to Ilupeju from their 27, Owode Street, Alapere, Ketu residence.

When all efforts by the family to find him failed, it was gathered, a complaint was lodged with the police on December 20.

After two months of police investigation which included electronic analysis of the missing man’s Itel phone, detectives traced the phone from three buyers to the pastor alleged to have stolen it and other belongings of the victim at Oniru Beach.

It was gathered that the phone was first traced to one Monsurat Gbadegeshin, 23, who told investigators that she got it from her fiancé Abiodun Abiola. Upon arrest, Abiola, 30, said he bought the phone from one Tolu Olurotimi, 20, who in turn told detectives he purchased the phone from Pastor Ologonla.

According to the police, the pastor on interrogation said  that he saw the missing man jump into the sea that fateful day, adding that he was acting drunk.

Ologonla who claimed he was at the beach for spiritual cleansing when Oluwafemi came there looking drunk and started chasing people around.

He said he saw Oluwafemi climb a fisherman’s boat and later saw him pulling off his clothes, shoes, dropped his phones and took a plunge into the sea.

“He claimed that he informed security men on guard at the beach and also called a police officer as well as one princess Arike Oniru on the phone to intimate them of the incident, and that he finally picked up the victims clothes, shoes and phone and sold the phone to one Tolu Olurotimi for N1,500 only. The Oniru Beach guards, the fishermen, the princess and other witnesses mentioned were invited for questioning.”

“The fisherman stated that on that fateful day, the missing person came to the beach behaving as if he was drunk, and that as he paddled the canoe to the sea, he was alerted that the man was hanging on the canoe. He brought him back and promised to give him fish. But when he came back the following day, he did not see the man anymore.”

“The princess confirmed that the pastor called her to inform her that somebody jumped into the sea and she advised him to report the incident to the nearest police station. The security guards on duty at the beach denied receiving a report of somebody jumping into the sea.”

“The clothes and shoes of the missing person were found in possession of the pastor. It is established that the missing person was actually at Oniru Beach before his disappearance.”

“The pastor was the last person that had contact with the missing person. It is not yet established whether the missing person is dead or still alive. But circumstantial evidence gathered so far, strongly points towards the pastor.”

“The pastor did not just sell the phone belonging to the missing person, he also converted the money he found in the trousers of the missing person to his own use. There is no record showing that the pastor reported the incident to any police station,” said police spokesman Bala Elkana in a statement yesterday.

According to Elkana, Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu has ordered the immediate transfer of the case to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) Yaba for further investigation.

@ The Nation

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