For Engineer Kingsley Okafor, Kaduna state evokes a lot of emotions because of the strategic place it occupies in his heart.
But the mention of the name Kaduna also sends shivers down his spine because it is one town that he almost lost his life because of his passion, ministering to those he calls lost souls in prisons and police stations across the city.
While he looks back at the city with satisfaction that he was able to win souls for his faith, Christianity, he almost lost his life by the very fact that he was determined to win souls for Christ.
According to him, it all began while he was working on a project in the proposed National College of Petroleum Studies Kaduna(NCPSK) located behind trade fair at the northern part of the city. While he was working on the project, he also devoted his spare time to visiting the prisons and police stations to preach to inmates.
In doing so, he did not discriminate whether those he was preaching to were Muslims, Christians or atheists. He just wanted to lead them to Christ. But that was the beginning of his problems with some unnamed persons who saw his evangelism as sacrilegious.
He explained that after receiving subtle threats from unknown persons, he almost lost his life when he was trailed to his House in Barnawa area of the town and was almost killed through carbon monoxide poisoning.
He told weekend Vanguard: ‘I could only recount what happened after the gas attack with carbon-mono-oxide from electricity generating set in my then residence. I knew that I slept in my flat and woke up in the hospital about three (3) days after.
As a matter of fact, when I woke up, I thought I was still on my bed but I realised I had medical equipment fixed all over me and people gathered around me on the hospital bed telling me to calm down that I would soon be alright. That was when I realized that something wrong must have happened to me.
‘What happened was that, essentially the attackers wanted to kill me in the most silent way possible. The Generating set outside my house was moved and repositioned to supply smokes and fumes directly into my room when I was already sleeping.
I lived alone in the flat. So, the gas attack occurred while I had already slept. It took the effort of my workers and that of one pastor Moses Adebowale of Mountain of Fire and miracles ministries Kaduna Branch at that time to break my flat open when they could not see me and took me to the hospital. Because of the inhalation of carbon monoxide fumes, I became unconscious and was in coma; I regained my consciousness in the hospital after about three days’ he said.
Though he claimed that he had a faint idea where the attack, may have come from, it became obvious to him when he moved out of Kaduna to Abuja but continued with his prison ministration to win prisoners over to Christianity.
‘It became apparent to me that I was being targeted when I moved to Abuja and realized that there were people trailing me and my family. I received anonymous calls warning me not to continue the work of preaching to prison inmates. I was told that some of the prison inmates who were Muslims got converted to Christianity during my preaching. That was my sin for which those self appointed faith police felt I should not live.
‘What made it even scarier for me was the fact that the threat extended to my wife who was a teacher in a government school in Abuja. They knew me and my family members and seem to know my every move. I did not know them and they warned me not to report to the security services. I was scared still for my life and that of my family members. The callers kept on telling me that they would not harm me or members of my family provided I stopped preaching and converting people to Christianity’
Engineer Okafor said that though he valued his life and those of his family, members, he had a calling to minister to prison inmates and cannot stop doing so.
‘I am torn between obeying God’s calling and protecting my life and those of my family. For now, I have been forced into hiding with my family members but I still have a strong feeling to continue my prison ministration. I was forced out of Kaduna because of my faith but I will one day continue doing what God has called me to do. The lord that has asked me to do this will certainly protect me.