A pastor in Edo state, South-south Nigeria, has been arrested for his alleged involvement in human trafficking.
The man, Marvelous Odalo, is said to be the General Overseer of Mega Charismatic Fire Ministry in the state.
Mr Odalo was arrested alongside his accomplice by the Edo State Taskforce against Human Trafficking for allegedly conniving with a sponsor in Russia to traffic a 22-year-old girl from the state, according to a statement issued on Thursday by the Edo state government.
The government claimed the arrest followed a tipoff from the girl.
The government did not reveal the victim’s name but said she has since returned to Edo state from Russia.
The victim, according to the statement, claimed she and her sister were deceived by the pastor and his accomplice.
“The pastor asked me to stand on top a white handkerchief and N1000 note on the altar. He asked me to repeat what he was saying and that if I refuse to pay my madam, something bad will happen to me,” she was quoted to have said.
“I was asked to pay U.S $50,000.
“They told me that I was going to meet a woman who is pregnant in Russia and that I will assist her with domestic chores. They said I will also be working as a stylist in her saloon.
“I will pay them that amount since the work is thriving there. I never knew that the lady was neither pregnant nor married. When I got there, it was a different ball game. I was forced to engage in prostitution in Russia which I resisted, I rejected it and told them I will rather go home than sell my body to satisfy one greedy woman.”
She said she later met a Nigerian in Russia, who introduced her to an aide to Edo governor on human trafficking, Solomon Okoduwa, who took her matter up in Nigeria.
The victim said since she came back to Nigeria she has been receiving threats from her ‘madam’, demanding for the money spent on the journey to Russia.
She thanked the Edo State government for coming to her rescue and appealed for the government to intervene and help stop the threat to her life, as well as help her start up a business to enable her to earn a decent living.
The governor’s aide, Mr Okoduwa, who facilitated the arrest, said the pastor and a woman who is an accomplice have been handed over to the Special Investigation Unit attached to the Government House for further investigation.
Edo is one of the worst hit states in Nigeria by human trafficking.
The administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki in the state has drawn commendations for its effort in tackling the menace.