A 24-year-old girl yesterday painted a sordid picture of how a pastor she fellowshipped with at the Heavenly Ambassadors’ Ministries Inc. lured her into prostitution.
The lady identified as Florence, a former stylist, dancer and singer while with the church located at Isihor on the busy Benin-Lagos Expressway in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State, said she was tricked while she was 18 years old by Pastor Endurance Eghoze to travel to meet his sister based in Russia with the hope of assisting her to look for a greener pasture overseas but ended up in the web of street hawkers there. Florence said she worked tirelessly for four years (2013 to 2017) to pay an agreed sum of $45,000 (about N17.1 million) to her ‘Madam’ and trafficker, Ms. Vivian Eghoze, who later dumped her on the streets of Russia before she was deported home in February.
Already, operatives of the state police command have arrested Vivian and her brother, Endurance.
The arrest was made possible following a tip-off by an Edo-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Initiative for Youths Awareness on Migration, Immigration, Development and Reintegration (IYAMIDR). When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Moses Nkombe, confirmed their arrest.
He said: “The matter is being investigated by the police.” Florence, who has been reunited with her family, is begging for urgent assistance from good-spirited individuals and government. She said after paying her ‘madam’ the huge sum, she is also battling to save herself from a mysterious ailment. Vivian and Endurance have allegedly trafficked over 45 girls for prostitutions overseas. The victims said they were daily subjected to excruciating conditions in cold of the nights to meet customers without anything to show for their years of enslavement. According to them, even their parents and relations wallow in hunger, poverty and emptiness except for the lavish lifestyles of their hosts and their exotic cars and eye-pooping mansions. Florence explained that her trouble started in late 2012 when her mother amid cries and wailing narrated her plight of being locked in huge debt to their pastor, who is also the second in command of the church, who quickly cashed in on the ugly situation to convince her to join his sister in Russia. She added that a few days before she travelled to Lagos to meet Vivian’s close relations, her mother who was in Benin compelled her to take an oath of secrecy after collection of her pubic hair, pants and braziers while ‘madam’s uncle also defiled her in a hotel room where she was lodged preparatory for Russia and sternly warned her not to tell anyone about the illicit act.
She said: “I had to borrow money to do my passport. She keeps calling and assuring me that all will be well. I was made to take oath of allegiance.
“I borrowed N30,000 from a cooperative society, to do my passport and I told her (Ms Vivian) that my passport was ready and she said okay. And from there I proceeded to another level at which she called Endurance that they would be the ones to run everything and that my mind should be at rest. After some weeks, she called me again and gave me words of encouragement. That was how we ended our talk.”