Chinedu Eze, a 43-year-old pastor affiliated with Mountain of Fire and Miracles (Worldwide), recently shared his astonishing story of being imprisoned for 14 years after allegedly refusing to cooperate with the police on a matter he claimed to have no knowledge of.
During his time in prison, Eze took the opportunity to enroll in the Senior School Certificate Examination and successfully earned a Bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the National Open University of Nigeria, thanks to the efforts of Christ Embassy Church.
Remarkably, out of the 996 inmates, he accomplished this feat.
Despite his incarceration, Eze’s creative spirit remained strong. He penned 157 songs and authored seven books while behind bars.
The indigene of Enugu State recounted that he regained his freedom on Thursday, May 2, 2019, after enduring a period of unjust imprisonment. The arrest and subsequent detention in Kuje Correctional Services were orchestrated by some policemen who approached him in 2005, seeking his cooperation as a witness in a case he did not know of.
Speaking at the 14th anniversary Gala of Silver Lining for The Needy Initiative (SLNI), a non-governmental organization dedicated to assisting vulnerable groups in Nigeria, Eze expressed his gratitude for the organization’s support in facilitating his release. He admitted that his hopes had dwindled before SLNI intervened on his behalf.
Hauwa Abass, the Founder of SLNI, emphasized the organization’s commitment to aiding the underprivileged and fighting against injustice in Nigeria.
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He said, “I was sent to prison because of an issue involving a policeman who had issues with his superiors, and they wanted to punish him. Some policemen approached me and wanted to use me as a prosecution witness against him. But I told them that I couldn’t testify against him because I didn’t know anything about the scenario.
“One of the policemen, known as Emmanuel Abazie, told me that I had to cooperate with them unless I would regret it. At first, I thought it was just a mere threat. I never knew it would result in me going to prison. When I got to the prison, they hid my file. I stayed there for four years—no court, no files. It was a long, torturous journey that I had to stay 14 years under awaiting trial.”
Eze said, “I got seven credits without English. I sat for the exam again the following year, and I got nine distinctions, including English and Mathematics.
“When I was writing WAEC, I had no intention of furthering education in the prison because there was no university, but I saw it as a providence arrangement because after two years that I wrote WAEC, the National Open University, and Christ Embassy came to the prison and said that they were looking for those who were qualified and those who had what it takes to be enrolled in the university. I happened to be one of 31 persons. We were about 996 inmates in Kuje prison.
“So I was among the 31 people that met the requirements to be given a scholarship, so that’s how I was admitted to study Peace and Conflict Resolution.”
“My incident happened between 2005 and 2019. The SLNI came in 2017, and by that time, I had given up. When they came, I had interaction with the founder, Hauwa Abass, and then she spoke with someone in her legal department, one Barrister Muhammad, who went to the court, located my file, and that was how my file was discovered. Muhammad later came to the prison and told me that this is the stage of my case, and then we picked it up from there. After about two years of my encounter with them, I was released on May 2, 2019.
“When you visit the prison, you will see something like 70 convicted inmates but 900 awaiting trials. A policeman who was indicted (while I was there) was released just about a month ago when the Chief Judge visited the prison. That policeman was simply set up by his superiors because of the issues he had with them, and he spent about 18 years awaiting trial.”
Eze revealed that during his time in detention, he immersed himself in writing and composing songs, in addition to authoring approximately seven books.
“One of the books is about my experience, titled “14 years in prison”, I have the belief that I will meet people who will help me publish it. Also, my first album was launched in December last year. I wrote about 157 songs in detention, but I now have 160 songs.”