Popular Nigerian cleric, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, who is more commonly called Rev King, has been celebrated on his birthday.
The man who was convicted for murder to the Supreme Court and given a death sentence, was gifted with 17 newspaper advert pages in ThisDay, by his church members and others who celebrated him like a god.
Reverend King, General Overseer of Christian Praying Assembly, Lagos State, who was sentenced to death in January 2007 for murder, indecent and sexual assaults and other atrocities in his church, was seen on the newspaper adverts celebrated as “daddy and god.”
The newspaper devoted 17 full colour pages to King being adverts carried by his church members, saying “His Holiness, the Most High Dr Reverend King live and reign forever in our lives in Jesus Christ name. Amen. We worship and adore you, our living God.”
“On the glorious day of his birthday, you are the light of the world which have (sic) come to stay, to lighten the lives of your true children. Sir, you are the reason why we are alive today,” another message reads.
King, from Anambra State, in 2006, became notorious in the country following the murder of a church member, Ann Uzoh.
The cleric was arraigned before the Lagos High Court in Ikeja on September 26, 2006, on six counts of the murder of Uzoh as well as the attempted murder of five other members.
He was said to have doused the deceased and the five other victims with petrol and set them on fire for allegedly committing fornication.
Uzoh died on August 2, 2006, 11 days after the incident, as a result of the injuries which she sustained from the burns.
The trial judge, Justice Olubunmi Oyewole, had in his judgement delivered on January 11, 2007, convicted Ezeugo and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment on each of the five counts of attempted murder and death sentence for murder.
The adverts carried for Reverend King run from ThisDay Friday Page 25 to Page 41, as it was learnt that most of the church members had in solidarity adopted the name of their convicted General Overseer who they all call ‘Daddy’.
Some of the adverts came from the CPA St Women Worldwide, CPA Ketu Branch, Bresser branch, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“Daddy, you are the reason why I and my family are existing. We wish you many more triumphant years. Your kingdom shall reign over all the earth and shall endure from everlasting to everlasting,” a member, Somtobechukwu King and his family wrote.
Dissatisfied with Justice Oyewole’s judgement in 2007, King appealed to the Court of Appeal, which also affirmed the sentence passed on him.
He further appealed to the Supreme Court which dismissed his appeal and affirmed the judgments of both the Lagos High Court and the Court of Appeal.
On February 26, 2016, the Supreme Court upheld Reverend King’s death sentencing as many Nigerians awaited the court’s decision with bated breath.
A seven-man panel of Justices of the apex court led by Justice Walter Onnoghen, confirmed the death sentence that was earlier handed to Ezeugo by the Lagos State High Court.
The verdict was delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta. “This appeal has no merit. The judgement of the court of appeal is hereby affirmed. The prison sentence that was earlier handed to the appellant is no longer relevant in view of the death sentence passed on him,” he stated.
Although Reverend King has been in prison custody for the past 10 years, several members of his church CPA, have kept a revered image of their pastor, marking his birthday in absentia and even continuing with services.
In 2014, CPA members also bought spaces in Nigerian dailies to extol Reverend King’s virtues while hailing him as the light of the world.
A number of Nigerians allege that Reverend King has a strong hold on his members and even manipulates them from prison.
He even reportedly sends messages to them for Sunday services.
“The man of the moment, the mighty man in battle; the giver of life and the hope of the hopeless. Daddy we thank you for your presence in our lives, families and business. King forever, live forever,” another birthday advert reads on Friday.