A female pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and mother of seven, Mrs. Eunice Elisha, was on Saturday morning killed by unknown assailants while preaching around the Gbazango-West area of Kubwa, a satellite town in the Federal Capital Territory.
Elisha, whose birthday was just a couple of weeks away, was stabbed in the stomach and she also had a cut in her neck.
The 42-year-old woman was a deaconess at the Divine Touch Parish of the RCCG, Old NEPA Road, Phase 4, Kubwa.
The RCCG preacher was found dead in a pool of her own blood with a copy of the Bible, a megaphone and a mobile phone.
She was found dead by residents who alerted policemen who came to evacuate her remains to the police station where her husband went to identify the body.
Speaking to journalists at their residence, Eunice’s husband, Mr. Olawale Elisha, who is also a pastor at the RCCG, said his wife had gone out to preach in the neighbourhood around 5 am only for him to hear the report of her murder.
Elisha, who looked pensive and dejected, said, “My wife always went out early in the morning for ‘Morning Cry’ (evangelism). There was a particular day she went out and she told me that there was a mosque at the back where they commented about what she said. So I just cautioned her.
“This morning (Saturday), she went out around 5 am and I was still in bed because we had a vigil which she participated in for a short while because of the ‘Morning Cry’ she planned to undertake. Two of my boys are footballers, thus, they went to the football pitch to play. And when they came back, they told me that they heard some footballers saying that some hoodlums had butchered a woman who was preaching early this morning.”
Following the report of his children, he decided to check if his wife was safe.
“When I heard this, wearing only a pair of shorts, we walked towards the area my son had said the incident occurred; we didn’t see anybody but we saw blood on the ground. I asked a policeman around and he said it was true but that they had taken the body to Phase 4 Police Station.
“I went to the police station with my children and when we got there, I saw the lifeless body of my wife at the back of a police van. She was later taken to a mortuary. The incident happened between 5 am and 5.30 am because she usually went out at 5 am and returned by 6 am,” the husband of the deceased said.
The couple got married in July 2000.
“My wife was so committed to anything that is of God. She was a reckless giver to God’s work. She rarely missed any programme in the church. We have seven children,” he stated.
According to him, his wife had no quarrel with anyone that could have warranted her murder.
“I see her as a martyr and she died for Christ and whether the people are caught or not, they should forgive them. My prayer is that if they can accept Christ, that will be a gain to Christ,” the bereaved husband said.
A senior police officer at the Kubwa Divisional Police Station, confirmed the incident, but referred our correspondent to the Divisional Police Officer, who was not available.
The FCT Police Command told the News Agency of Nigeria that it had arrested some suspects in connection with the killing of the RCCG preacher.
FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Manzah Anjuguri, confirmed the arrest on Saturday.
He stated that the Command Commissioner of Police, Mr. Alkali Usman, had directed the homicide section to take over the investigation.
“We have made some arrests and they are helping in our investigation,” Anjuguri said.
He, however, did not mention the number of suspects arrested.
He said the personnel of the command had visited the scene of the incident, adding that further investigations had begun.
A lawyer and friend of the Elishas, David Ude-Chukwu, described Eunice’ murder as a hate crime brought about by religious insensitivity, noting that the constitution allowed every Nigerian to practise their chosen religion.
Ude-Chukwu, said, “I have known this family for about 20 years and I can describe Mrs. Elisha as an industrious, humble and Christian preacher who was passionate about Christ. When I heard that a woman was killed, I was wondering who it was until I learnt she was the victim of this barbarous and dastardly murder. Obviously, she was killed on account of her religious activity. Under the law, all Nigerians were permitted to practise their religion, but I don’t know why some people are intolerant. Her murder also showed that there is no security in this country.”
Another neighbour, Pastor Adebayo Tiamiyu, said of the slain preacher, “Mrs. Eunice Olawale was known as a passionate preacher who went out every morning to evangelise and she had been doing this for many years. Everybody loved her because of her passion for things of God. I learnt that she went out to preach as usual when she was attacked and killed by unknown people. She was stabbed in the neck and the stomach and nothing was taken from her because we saw her GSM phone, megaphone and Bible with her, so obviously, the intention was not to rob, but to kill her. The husband is still in shock and we had to sedate him, so that he can sleep. It is a very tragic incident and we call on security agencies to track down the perpetrators and bring them to book.”
A woman simply known as Asabe also said neighbours were shocked over the preacher’s murder.
She said, “Mrs. Olawale normally go out for evangelism everyday and she was well known in this area. We heard that a woman was killed around Pipeline junction, some metres from the house. In fact, it was one of her sons who came back to tell his father that he learnt a preacher was killed at the pipeline junction. We all went there and saw lot of blood on the ground, but the police had evacuated her corpse to their station. When Mr. Elisha got to the station and saw his wife’s corpse, he fainted and had to be revived.”
The RCCG Public Relations Officer, Mrs. Olanike Olaomo, said she was in a meeting of the church’s leadership and would get back to our correspondent.
She said, “I am in a meeting now, I can’t pick your call. But will send an SMS.”
She had, however, yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.