A pastor with the Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria, Jalingo, Taraba State, has been apprehended by the police for allegedly absconding with N.5m unsettled hotel bills.
Reverend Eli Dilli, the presiding priest of LCCN Majami’ar Ceto, Jeka da Fari parish, Jalingo, was said to have coordinated a network of Christian pastors in the build up to the 2019 general elections,
It was alleged that Eli was working for the Peoples Democratic Party to emerge victorious and had cause to use one of the hotels in the state capital to boost the electoral chances of the party and its gubernatorial candidate.
James Joshua, the overseer of the Tufini, Hotel and Suites, on whose complaints Eli was on Monday arrested by the Adamawa State Police Command, said the clergyman did not respect his priestly calling by refusing to pay the debt accumulated for lodging of several clergies in the facility to the tune of N507,000.
Eli’s link to the hotel was allegedly established by an influential chieftain of the PDP, but Joshua argued that the agreement was to give the clergy a rebate, while he was expected to settle the bills.
But soon after the elections, Eli allegedly absconded and did not settle the bills, even though the management of the hotel was aware that he had been paid over N4m.
James explained that since May 2019, Eli had refused to pick his calls, adding that efforts to get the clergy to pay proved futile until the matter was reported to the police, who accompanied him to a court, where the pastor was said to be responding to a summons.
“Eli absconded since 2019 with our bills, even though he started accumulating the debt from November 2018 to April 17, 2019. Since then I have not set my eyes on him,” he said.
But Eli, who was accompanied to the hotel by plain clothed security operatives, denied owing the hotel the amount, adding that he made some payment before leaving the hotel.
He also told reporters that he had a receipt indicating the payment he made, adding that he kept the receipt in his bag, which was in the custody of the hotel.