-By Alexander Okere
The husband of a gospel singer, who was found dead in a private hotel in Benin, Edo State, Mr. Odion Omoarebokhae, has accused the senior pastor of a Pentecostal church, identified as Apostle Psalm Okpe, of allegedly killing his wife, Yvonne Omoarebokhae.
Odion, a transporter who dismissed the speculation that his wife died of cardiac arrest, alleged that she could have been given an overdose of an unknown substance in the hotel room and left to die.
The Yvonne had on April 8 been reportedly found dead in private a hotel located in the Government Reservation Area, a day after performing at a church programme in Warri.
The 30-year-old woman was said to have been invited by the Lagos based pastor, whom she had reportedly met on Facebook, to perform at a church programme in Warri, Asaba and Benin.
She was said to have been confirmed dead at the Central Hospital, Benin, while her corpse was deposited in a mortuary.
Efforts to reach pastor Okpe for comments were unsuccessful as he was said to be in police custody.
But the husband of the deceased, who told our correspondent on Monday that he did not know the pastor, said, “At about 9pm, I was called to come to the Airport road police station. Initially, I thought she had an issue with the taxi she took on her way back.
“But later that night, the police, after tossing me here and there, told me that she was dead. It was later that I discovered that the pastor that invited her to cover the programme, Psalm Okpe, had killed my wife.”
Odion also claimed the CCTV footage obtained from the hotel revealed that both the cleric and the deceased lodged in the same room and showed the suspicious movements of the pastor, which according to him indicated his complicity in the death of the woman.
The man said, “I have watched the CCTV footage. Initially, the pastor said that they came back together and she went her way and he went his own way. But we have been to that place (hotel) and watched the CCTV footage and discovered that, contrary to what he (pastor) wrote, she (deceased) actually slept there.
“Immediately they entered, she was just following like a mute (and) went up upstairs. The police told me that they met my wife dressed like somebody ready to go out. The police snapped her (took her photograph) like somebody taking a nap.
“I have seen my wife’s body; there is no mark on her. From what I observed, I think she was given an overdose of a substance I do not know. Probably, her system could not take it.
“She communicated with me that day she died, at about 10am, that they have finished performing; she could not return the day before; that she is already in Benin (and) in the next one hour, she will be in the house.”
The husband of the deceased, who claimed to have received calls from some persons to withdraw the matter, urged the Nigeria Police Force to conduct a thorough investigation in the interest of justice for the aggrieved family.
“One or two person have been calling me that I should try and bury my wife that they will talk to them for settlement. I have told them (that) I didn’t sell her and I am not collecting any money from anybody.
“I want the police to follow this case because I know that pastor Psalm Okpe killed me wife. So, I want the law to make sure he does not go unpunished,” Odion added.
The Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, said that although an autopsy had been conducted, he was yet to receive the result.
“The matter is under investigation. Autopsy was conducted on Saturday; as I speak to you, I’ve not received the autopsy report. Not until I have the autopsy report before me, I will not be able to say the cause of death.
“People should also not delve into areas where they have little competence. For somebody who is not a doctor or who has not been advised as such to hold an opinion where you have little competence is also not correct.
“They should allow the investigation to run to its conclusion. If they are not satisfied, they can go further; they can petition the IG. They matter can be taken over from Abuja but it will amount to overheating the polity for people to be making comments while matters are under investigation.
On the whereabouts of the pastor, the police commissioner said, “He (Okpe) is with us. We are very open in matters we do. We have not recovered any substance.”