A pentecostal church in Benin, Edo state, Hope Ministry was on Tuesday thrown into pandemonium as a deliverance session organised by the church turned tragic, following the death of a 45-year old man, identified as Osayande Ekhator.
It was gathered that the deceased had been taken to the church, located at Okwanga Street, around Uselu Quarters, in Egor local government area of Benin metropolis by his relatives for spiritual cleansing the previous day due to an undisclosed ailment after he allegedly indicated interest in the spiritual exercise.
The shocking death of the man which resulted in a loud outcry was said to have attracted a loud crowd of residents and mourners, just as some angry youths reportedly stormed the church and vandalised some valuable property, thereby putting an abrupt end to the deliverance session.
A resident of the area who did not want his name in print, suggested that the late man may have fallen on a hard object, as there was blood stains on his head.
“I think he must have hit his head somewhere. I saw blood on his head when his body was placed in a vehicle,” he said.
The grief-stricken father of the deceased, Pa Ekhator, said he had suspected that the deliverance session had gone wrong when his late son was thrown to the ground, with his hands and legs tied.
“They forced him and tied him as usual and threw him down. From there, they carried a bucket full of water and poured it on his body.
The mother asked why. They said that is what they usually do; that after struggling, they wanted him to have rest and cool down. After about five minutes she came crying that Osayande is dead.”
One of the deceased’s sisters alleged that his brother was “beaten to death” by his deliverers, who had also planned to deposit his remains at a mortuary.
“They beat him to death. They removed the clothes he came with, bathe him and wore another on him. They said that they wanted to take him to a mortuary. But we refused,” she said.
The Resident Pastor of the church, Hope Ministry, also known as Holy Ghost Deliverance Centre, Mrs. Isoken Ekundaye, however denied beating the deceased to death, saying, “We don’t kill here. We don’t beat here. If they bring insane people, we heal.”
Edo State Police Command spokesman, DSP Stephen Onwochei, who confirmed the incident, said the said pastor has been arrested while the case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for investigation.