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Pastor gives reasons for faking own kidnap

CITIZENS COMPASS– A Jos-based pastor, Bitrus Albarka, who was arrested on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, for allegedly faking his own kidnap, has said that he did it because of financial challenges.

He disclosed this when he was paraded on Thursday, at the police headquarters in Jos, the capital of Plateau State.

Parading Mr Albarka, a pastor of ECWA Church, Plateau state police command said its investigation revealed that he conspired with his gang and collected ransoms meant for his release.

The suspect said, “I put myself into these activities because of the financial challenges I am faced with. When I did the first one, I felt guilty. When I went out, the money with me has finished. I was thinking of coming back. I was just confused. That is why I did the second one. I am regretting my action,” he said.

The pastor who also allegedly burnt a vehicle owned by a senior pastor of the church said he didn’t know what came over him.

“I burnt the vehicle because I was guilty of what I did. I was just confused. I don’t even know what came over me. Being a pastor, that is why the spirit of God didn’t allow me to go without confessing my action. I am sorry for what I have done. I am really sorry.

Plateau Police Command’s spokesman, Alabo Alfred, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday, that the pastor collected the sum of N400,000 on 14 November 2022, and on November 30 of the same year, he staged another kidnap of himself and collected the sum of 200,000 from members of his church.

“Sequel to his spurious kidnaps of 14/11/2022 and 30/11/2022 where the sum of Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N400,000) and Two Hundred Thousand Naira ( N200,000) was respectively paid by his sympathizers as a ransom for his release, the incidents triggered suspicion.

“Through credible intelligence, the clergyman was invited by the DPO Nassarawa Gwong Police Station, CSP Musa Hassan and investigation commenced immediately. In the course of the investigation, it was established that the suspect has been conspiring with his gang to stage his kidnap and fraudulently collect the ransom.

“On interrogation, the suspect confessed to having committed the crime and mentioned the following persons as his accomplices : (1) Baruk Mailale, (2) Nathaniel Bitrus both males of Yelwan Zangam village of Jos-north and (3) Aye (surname yet to be known) ‘male of Jalingo, Taraba State.

“The suspect further disclosed that on 04/01/2023, he set ablaze two motor vehicles ( a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota) and a bicycle parked at ECWA Bishara 3 Jenta Apata premises belonging to his colleagues who he alleged one of them hates him, referring to his senior pastor, ” the statement read.

Meanwhile, police said operatives of Nassarawa Gwong Division, Jos-north LGA arrested two other suspects involved in the staged abduction – Baruk Mailale and Nathaniel Bitrus – while effort is being intensified to arrest Aye, the third suspect.

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