Police have arrested a cleric, Paul Morah, for allegedly defiling over 24 male children between 12 and 16 years at Enyibichiri community in Ikwo Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Morah, who hails from Orji River in Enugu State but came to Ebonyi for pastoral mission, claimed to be a reverend with Anglican Church.
It was alleged that he used a diabolical handkerchief to lure some of the children, especially those who tried to resist him.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP George Okafor, yesterday confirmed the report, but said he would brief journalists when investigation was concluded.
He said: “We are aware of the matter.
It has just been transferred from Ikwo Police Division to this place (headquarters). We are still investigating the matter. But latest tomorrow, we will get back to press.”
Earlier, the Coordinator of Ikwo East Development Centre, Hon. Chinedu Ogbuoji, where the incident occurred, confirmed the incident and described it as pathetic.
He said: “The incident is a pathetic one because these days some people hide themselves under the umbrella of religion to perpetrate evil.
“He told us that his name is Paul Morah from Enugu State. He claimed to be a pastor.
But when we interrogated him further, he said he spent only three weeks in the church before he was suspended by the Anglican Church in Enyibichiri community.
“People from my area reported the incident to me and I intervened with the support of the town union leader and the youth.
“We went there; he was apprehended and handed over to the police. We want to assure you of more investigation.
“Some of the children claimed they are members of the church.
Nobody knew what he used to lure the children. But we heard that at times, he uses diabolical handkerchief to lure them.”
On his part, the President, the community’s town union, Hon. Nwoba Sylvanus, said “it was in the early hours of yesterday morning (Tuesday) that one of my chairmen, Sunday Nwibo, of a sub-ward called me and related the information to me.
I told him he should go and arrange some boys to go to the man and arrest the man for him to be handed over to the police for investigation.
“At that hour it happened, we only identified four children – the oldest is about 17 years.
One of them is in primary six, two are in JSS II and the other one is in JSS III. But from the investigation of the divisional police officer at Noyo junction, the children are up to 24 now.
‘’According to one of the children, the man used to send them on an errand and when they come back, he will ask them to enter his house.
In the house, he will ask them to remove their clothes. If they resist, he will remove their clothes and defile them.
“He told us that he is a pastor in Anglican Church but when one of the pastors of Anglican Church was contacted, he said they have suspended him for over three months.
“The pastor said when he came to them, after observing him; they discovered he was fake and was not working in line with the doctrines of the church.