Court sentences Ondo prophet, six church workers to life imprisonment over missing child
Ondo State High Court yesterday sentenced the founder of Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, and five others to life imprisonment for the mysterious disappearance of a toddler, Gold Kolawole.
Prophet Alfa, who is the founder of the popular church, located at Oshinle quarters area of Akure, was accused by the parents of the missing child of being responsible for the disappearance of their son.
Aside Prophet Alfa, others who were found guilty of the offence are members of his church, identified as: Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Motunrayo Egunjobi, Esther Kayode and Peter Anjorin.
The court premises was filled with spectators who had been following the case for the past 11 months, especially members of Sotitobire Praising Chapel.
Prophet Alfa was brought to the court alongside six other church members by heavily armed prison guards. He arrived at the court premises around past nine, with hundreds of his church members at the gates and vicinity of the court.
The Guardian learnt that the church members gathered themselves for vigil on Monday night, praying for the release of their spiritual leader, whom they had thought would be discharged and acquitted of all the charges.
Sources within the church disclosed that the faithful disciples of the prophet had bought a cow, food and drinks, planning to throw a party in celebration of their religious leader after yesterday’s court sitting.
It will be recalled that the one year old boy, Gold, got missing on November 10, 2019 during a Sunday service in the church after his mother, Modupe Kolawol, had dropped him at the creche department of the church.
The judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, convicted them of the two-count charge of kidnapping and aiding and abetting to kidnap based on the circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution.
One of the charges against them read: “That you, Prophet Alfa Babatunde, Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Motunrayo Egunjobi, Esther Kayode, Peter Anjorin and others now at large, on November 10, 2019, around 11:45a.m. at the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, No. 48 Solagbade Street, Oshinle Quarter, Akure, Ondo State, did conspire together to commit felony to wit; kidnapping, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.”
Justice Odusola also condemned in strong terms the complicity, compromise, and lackadaisical attitude of the Ondo State police command, which led to the burning of the church by a mob on December 18.
The prophet was arrested on December 10, 2019 by the Department of the State Services (DSS) following a petition by parents of the missing child.
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