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Drama in Kirikiri Prison: Rev King, Ade Bendel in supremacy battle

Posted by By PATRICK ASONYE on 2007/12/09 | Views: 3325 |

Drama in Kirikiri Prison: Rev King, Ade Bendel in supremacy battle

Though on death row at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, controversial pastor of the Christian Praying Assembly, Rev. Dr. King (Emeka Ezeuko), is surely still a torn in some people’s flesh.

Though on death row at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, controversial pastor of the Christian Praying Assembly, Rev. Dr. King (Emeka Ezeuko), is surely still a torn in some people’s flesh.

Since arriving the confinement, after being convicted for the murder of a female member of his church, the Lagos preacher has continued to stir the hornet’s nest.

His latest exploit is a reported personality war with alleged 419 kingpin, Ade Bendel, over followership in the jail house.
A fallout of the muscle flexing by the two inmates, Sunday Sun learnt, is now causing tension at the prison, home to convicted criminals and high profile detainees.

The development is, in part, not unconnected with the withdrawal of approval earlier granted inmates to travel out of town for a religious crusade said to have been bankrolled by Ade Bendel, also a detainee.
In fact, the programme held November 28 at the Abeokuta Prison under the banner of Prisons Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). It was tagged ‘Holy Ghost Fire Crusade’.
But as it eventually turned out, the programme held without Ade Bendel or his fellow prison inmates who were billed to attend from Lagos.

Before then, Ade Bendel, it was reliably gathered, had firmed up arrangements, and even got approval to convey 20 inmates (10 from maximum, and five apiece from the medium and female wings of the jail yard) to attend the crusade in Abeokuta, Ogun State, about 32 kilometers away.
But apparently, word got to the Lagos Head Office of the Nigeria Prisons Service, Alagbon Close, to the effect that the leadership of the prison was looking the other way while inmates “violate prison regulations,” hence the approval earlier granted was cancelled 48 hours to the D-day.
Expectedly, having had his hopes raised and later dashed, Ade Bendel, according to inside sources, protested the cancellation, describing it as “betrayal”.

And while Ade Bendel and his supporters were brooding over the cancellation, there was subtle jubilation among the followers of Rev King, in what was interpreted to mean that they probably worked against the out-of-town crusade.
For them, one of the ways their own spiritual “Daddy” could shine was to systematically “clip the wings” of Ade Bendel in the manner the crusade issue was handled.

Instructively, since the arrival of Rev King at the prison yard, followership for Ade Bendel, who not only claims to be born again now, but indeed proprietor of a church within the premises, has reportedly dwindled. Hitherto, he was the rallying-point, wielding enormous influence arising largely from his wealth.
“Even beyond the prison walls, Ade Bendel can still pull strings and things would happen,” said a source.
Inevitably though, Rev King’s presence, Sunday Sun further learnt, has gradually but steadily swayed some of Ade Bendel’s traditional followers to the other camp, hence he reportedly recruited some “foot soldiers” among the inmates to win them over once again. The crusade was believed to be part of the agenda.

But curiously, the characters that are doing the leg work for Ade Bendel include the duo of Alaba Adeyemi and Elias Iremuwa, two robbery convicts who have each served over 11 years after their death sentences were commutted to life imprisonment.
The last but not the least is Alhaji Lateef Shofolahan, former Protocol Officer to late M.K.O Abiola, and later his wife Kudirat.

Sunday Sun learnt that Ade Bendel uses these men to galvanise his surpport base, by promoting his evangelism, in both Kirikiri and Ikoyi prison yards and beyond.
A story was told of how he sent one of them out, immediately after the environmental sanitation exercise on November 24, to Ikoyi Prison, in furtherance of preparations for the Abeokuta crusade.

To communicate the cancellation of the crusade to Ade Bendel, leadership of the Maximum Security Prison was said to have apologized to him, explaining that the approval was given in error, as prison regulations forbid inmates, more so “lifers”, from leaving location in pursuit of personal agenda.
Though Ade Bendel took the message with equanimity, he was nonetheless said to have complained that he was deceived to spend his money planning a programme, but disallowed from participating in it.

All in all, Sunday Sun learnt that his supporters feel hurt, and the authorities also not unmindful of the security implications, particularly with the onset of Yuletide season.
Thus, security issue has topped the agenda in the days thereafter. The authorities are said to have drawn some lessons from the incidents at Ikoyi prison, Agodi prison in Ibadan, Kano prison among others, where inmates went gaga, resulting in wanton destruction of property and loss of lives.

Xmas largesse
Apparently convinced that Rev King might have had a hand in his latest travail, Ade Bendel, Sunday Sun further learnt, has already set out to bolster his dwindling image among the prison officials.
In the spirit of Christmas, he reportedly gave out bags of rice to some prison officials last week, as part of a grand plan to re-launch himself to reckoning.

Life style
Though in custody over allegations of Advance Fee Fraud, Ade Bendel, in the over five years that he has been held, reportedly lives life above an average inmate. His private cell is located at Block 2, reserved for VIPs. He also allegedly uses his mobile phone in the cell, a privilege not usually extended to other inmates.

Prison’s PRO
Contacted on phone, the PRO of Lagos Command, Mr Ope Fatirikun declined comments. Said he: “I don’t entertain questions from journalists on phone. If you want my comment on any issue, come to my office at Ikoyi, I’ll answer any of your questions.”
Reminded that a journalist could call him from Sokoto, for instance, to confirm a story, Ope insisted that it was a matter of policy.
“I don’t know you, so how do you expect me to answer questions from somebody I don’t know,” he queried

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