By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY—THERE was pandemonium Monday at Uselu quarters in Benin City as a 44 year-old man, identified as Osayande Ekhator, reportedly died during a deliverance in one of the new generation churches, Hope Ministries, also known as Holy Ghost Deliverance Centre. Vanguard gathered that the death of the man angered the youths in the area who stormed the church with dangerous weapons, destroying its properties, including musical instruments, electrical appliances and vehicles parked in the premises.
The father of the deceased, Pa Erase Ekhator, lamented that the deceased visited him the previous day to inform him he was attending a deliverance in the church, that he quickly obliged him the request. He said confusion, however, enveloped the deliverance when he heard the deceased crying out for help.
“They forced him and tied both his legs and hands, carried a bucket full of water and poured it on his body. The mother asked why and they said that it is what they usually do to calm him down after struggling for five minutes, only for Osanyade to die in the church,’’ the deceased father said in anguish.
Sister of the deceased, Mrs Omoregie Osas, who suspected foul play in the death of his late brother, alleged that they beat him to death because the cloth he was putting on was pulled off and they wore him another one.” But reacting to the allegation, the resident Pastor of the Church, Mrs Isoken Okudaye, and a church member who claimed he witnessed what happened, said the victim who they claimed was violent during the deliverance, accidentally hit his head on a nearby generating set and died.
Pastor Okudaye said: “We have been taking care of his father without any money; we don’t kill, beat or destroy souls here. If they bring people with insanity here, we heal them.”
An eyewitness told newsmen: “When we heard that somebody died there, we all ran to the church to know what happened, but some angry youths started destroying the altar and everything in the church. We had to escape from the scene so that we won’t be attacked.”
Reacting to the development, Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Steve Onwunchie, who confirmed the incident, said the police had commenced investigation into the matter, adding that the findings would be made public at the appropriate time.