By Ojo Oluwafemi
Akure, Oct. 6, 2020 Justice Olusegun Odusola of the Ondo State High Court in Akure has sentenced a clergy, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, to life imprisonment over the disappearance of a one year old boy, Gold Kolawole, in his Church.
The prophet was sentenced alongside five other workers of his church, the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, who were all arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy and aiding and abetting kidnapping.
The other convicted church worker are, Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo and Esther Kayode.
Justice Odusola said that the accused were convicted based on the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.
The trial judge condemned in strong terms “the complicity, connivance and compromise of the Ondo State Police Command in the whole saga.”
He stated that the lackadaisical attitude of the founder was a pointer to his involvement in the disappearance of the missing child, Gold Kolawole, from his church in November 2019.
On count one, the prophet and five church workers were sentenced to seven years imprisonment for conspiracy to commit felony to wit aiding and abetting kidnapping.
Life imprisonment was, however, handed down to the accused persons on the second count charge of aiding and abetting kidnapping.
The offences, the Prosecution said, were contrary to and punishable under the Section 5 of the Ondo State Anti-kidnapping and Anti-Abduction law 2010.
Meanwhile, the seventh defendant, Peter Anjorin, was discharged and acquitted for lack of substantial evidence adduced by the prosecution.
Anjorin had been accused of destroying evidence contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Criminal Code, Law of Ondo State, 2006.
Earlier, Justice Odusola had struck out an application by Prophet Alfa’s counsel, Olusola Oke, seeking to vacate the court order that the defence lawyer should be investigated.
The judge at the last sitting had ruled that Mr Oke be investigated by the Department of State Services (DSS), following some allegations raised by the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adekola Olawoye.
Justice Odusola, however, at today’s sitting struck out the application dated 29 September, 2020 after Mr Banjo Ayenakin, who stood in for Olusola Oke moved a motion for adjournment of hearing of the application to enable him file his counter affidavit to the state’s reply.
The state counsel, John Joshua Dada, said he was ready with the case, but Mr Ayenakin insisted on an adjournment and withdrew from the case when the judge did not grant his application.
Justice Odusola therefore struck out the application since there was no longer an applicant and proceeded to deliver judgement in the trial of Prophet Alfa and the other church members.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Prophet Alfa, who is the founder of the church located in Akure, was on Nov. 10, 2019 accused by the parents of the missing child over the mysterious disappearance of their son who had not been seen till date.