Over one month after his abduction along Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State, the whereabouts of a popular pastor, Dan Osato Osamwonyi, of Prayer City Region 66, Mountain of Fire Ministry (MFM), Benin City, are still unknown and his family remains in disarray over his fate.
Osamwonyi, Nigerian Tribune gathered, was abducted on May 25, 2021, on his way to attend to a private issue. He was intercepted by some gunmen, who whisked him away from his Pathfinder Nissan SUV, into a getaway car and has since remained incommunicado, save for two SMS he sent to his wife, hours after his abduction.
The Edo Police Command that claimed to have been on the trail of the abducted cleric, has not made any headway either, though, a suspect, believed to have been connected to the crime was arrested.
It was further gathered that Osamwonyi’s abductors trailed him to the spot where he was whisked away at Sapele Road and abandoned his SUV on the spot.
Men of the Etete, GRA, Benin Police Division, later recovered the victim’s vehicle, and the matter was then officially booked at the police station, where investigation commenced.
A few hours later, Nigerian Tribune further gathered that Pastor Osamwonyi sent a disturbing Short Message Service (SMS), in upper case to his distraught wife as follows:
“THEY HAVE KIDNAPPED ME. I BEGGED THEM AND THEY GAVE ME ONLY ONE FAVOUR TO SEND THIS MESSAGE TO MY WIFE. THEY SAID THEY ARE HIRED KILLERS SENT BY MR ROBERT UKPONG, OUR FORMER MEN’S LEADER TO KILL ME. THEY HAVE A GUN BUT THEY WILL USE RAZOR BLADE TO KILL ME AND DROP ME INSIDE THE BUSH. THEY PUT MY CAR ALONG SAPELE ROAD NEAR TOTAL FILLING STATION. GOOD BYE FOREVER. GOD BLESS YOU FOR ALL YOU SUFFERED FOR ME IN JESUS NAME. GOD WILL BLESS MY CHILDREN IN JESUS NAME”.
The victim was said to have added a caveat to his SMS to his wife thus: “DO NOT DO ANY BURIAL FOR ME IF YOU CANNOT FIND MY BODY. TELL PASTOR FELIX OTASOWIE VERY SORRY”.
With the messages, the case was transferred from the New Etete Police Division to the office of the Anti kidnapping And Cybercrime Unit of the Edo State police command for further investigation.
The mentioned Robert Ukpong was subsequently arrested by the police, investigated and charged to court for kidnapping.
The case is now before a Benin High Court in Edo State.
Ever since the abduction on May 25, 2021, neither the family nor the police has been able to trace the whereabouts of Pastor Osamwonyi.
The situation has compelled members of his family and the church to throng the Edo Police Command Headquarters on a daily basis, appealing to the Command to help to rescue their benefactor unhurt.
The Edo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Kotongs Bello, a Superintendent of Police, SP, confirmed that the matter had been reported to the police, but would not volunteer further information.
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