Apostle Eugene Ogu, the founder and General Overseer of Abundant Life Evangelical Ministry (ALEM Embassy Church), the man believed to be the spiritual father of the embattled governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has taken off and resisted police arrest owing to his involvement in a large scale fraud of a whopping $15m (U.S Dollars).
The controversial Port-Harcourt based man of God, we gathered was recently dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by his estranged Europe based business partners, Globiz International Ltd, a Czech company for defrauding the firm.
Trouble piled last week for Ogu when an Abuja High Court issued a warrant to arrest him on charges of fraud, cheating, forgery, defamation and false information to the police. Two operatives from the Anti-fraud department of the Force CID Headquarters, Abuja travelled to Port Harcourt to arrest the loquacious political pastor, who arrogantly takes credit of bringing the embattled Governor of Rivers State to power through his “Yes, I believe prayer” campaign for Rotimi Amaechi during his governorship campaign. Luckily for Ogu, the detectives returned to Abuja without him in their net.
On Monday, 13th May, the two agents, acting on a tip-off, lay in wait for the pastor at the court premises of the magistrate court 1, Port Harcourt presided over by Magistrate Emma Woke, in whose court the fugitive pastor was appearing as a prosecution witness in a separate defamation suit. The police has been on the look-out for the controversial man of God since December 2007 over a matter deemed as frivolous and largely diversionary tactics during the course of investigating him on a petition written by the Czech company, Globiz, represented by Engineer Larry Obasi, their Africa Director. Mr Obasi has lived for 24 years in the Diaspora.
While there was a court room drama going on, as the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) of the case, Mr. Emmanuel Agughara was grilled by one of Obasi’s lawyers, Barr. Chubuzor Obiajunwa, exposing the lack of substance on the matter, a much bigger drama ensued outside the court room. The pastor, who was spotted hiding in a Toyota Jeep in the parking lot of the court premises, got a call from his lawyer, Barrister A.I. Nwawuike, also a pastor in the ALEM church, alerting him of imminent danger of being arrested, sped off and vanished into thin air before detectives could reach the car park.
Barrister Nwawuike later assuaged the bemused agents by promising to take them to the Church to meet his client after the court session, which was later not to be, as the Man of God had made good his escape from Port Harcourt. Mr. Nwawuike almost misled the court by refusing to acknowledge the invitation letter asking his client to appear in Abuja but for the fact that he was reminded of the complicity and the weighty of the offense before he accepted and promised to produce his client, Ogu on an agreed date in Abuja.
It will be recalled that the case against Ogu took a twist when the matter was referred from Abuja EFCC to the Port Harcourt EFCC for prosecution on grounds of jurisdiction, but was later hijacked by the pastor, using his connections with the ruling political class in Rivers State. Apostle Eugene Ogu was the former President Pentecostal Fellowship Of Nigeria (PFN), Rivers State Chapter. Urgent calls then for the prosecution of the pastor by famous Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, also an attorney for Mr. Obasi and the Czech Company, fell on deaf ears as the hunter eventually became the hunted as it later turned out to be.
Apostle Ogu compromised the PH EFCC officer, IPO Barnabas (now redeployed after some queries) and recruited him to do his bidding after the news broke in the media early 2011 as a face saving measure for him and his Church ministry. The complainant, Obasi, was intimidated and asked to drop the matter or he would be “wasted” in Nigeria. In different suits, Mr. Obasi fought back suing for N20m damages in a Fundamental Human Rights suit No: PHC/PH/CS/315/2011, dated 17th June,2011 against Pastor Eugene Ogu and Commissioner of Police Rivers and Attorney General Rivers State as respondents in the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.
Also, in a separate suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/9401, filed against Mr. Eugene Ogu, EFCC and others, in the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abuja dated 18th November, 2011, at the height of Mr. Ogu’s intimidations and harassment using thugs and some dubious elements in the guise of security agents, Obasi prayed the court, among other things, to grant an order of injunction, restraining Mr. Eugene Ogu, his officers, servants, agents, representatives, privies and/or other persons howsoever called, from further arresting, threatening to arrest, or harassing him in any manner whatsoever except by due process of law. The Court has not ruled on the application.
As the intimidations and threats went on unabated, in a fresh petition to the I.G, dated 16th May 2013, titled “Petition on the threat to the life of Obasi and family members by Messrs Eugene Ogu and Nwawuike and their cohorts”, Obasi listed a litany of threats including threatening SMS messages, verbal and physical threats to him and some family members that have been accompanying him to court in Port Harcourt. One of such threats included Pastor Ogu snapping some of his family members using his camera phone and threatening to deal with them if they did not stay clear of the matter. Ending the same petition, Mr. Obasi requested for police protection during subsequent trips to Port Harcourt as result of these purported threats to his life. As at the time of filling this report, Ogu’s lawyer failed to produce him as promised in Abuja on the agreed date. Ogu is still on the run and the police is still searching for the pastor.