Missing child: Appeal Court upturns Ondo pastor’s life sentence - Punch Newspapers

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12/4/2021 3:12:00 AM

Missing child: Appeal Court upturns Ondo pastor’s life sentence - Punch Newspapers

The most widely read newspaper in Nigeria

4 December 2021It was a jubilation galore for members of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Akure, the Ondo State capital as the Court of Appeal siting in the town discharged and acquitted the founder of the church, Alfa Babatunde, who was earlier convicted by the state High Court over the missing of a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole.

Kolawole was abuducted in the church in November 2019 by an unknown person during a church service. The defendants were thereafter arrested by men of the Department of State Services and later charged to court on two counts charge of kidnapping and aiding and abetting to kidnap.

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Missing child: Appeal court frees Prophet Babatunde of Sotitobire churchThe Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State capital has discharged and acquitted the founder of Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Akure, Alfa Babatunde, who was earlier convicted by the state High Court over missing of a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole.

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Published 4 December 2021 It was a jubilation galore for members of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Akure, the Ondo State capital as the Court of Appeal siting in the town discharged and acquitted the founder of the church, Alfa Babatunde, who was earlier convicted by the state High Court over the missing of a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole. Kolawole was abuducted in the church in November 2019 by an unknown person during a church service. The defendants were thereafter arrested by men of the Department of State Services and later charged to court on two counts charge of kidnapping and aiding and abetting to kidnap. The lower court, presided over by Justice Olusegun Odusola in 2020, sentenced Babatunde and five others – Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo and Esther Kayode – to life imprisonment, having found them guilty of the charges. However, the High Court judgement was upturned as the appellate judge, Justice Hammah Barka, said the circumstantial evidence upon which the lower court based its judgement was not enough to convict the appellants. He discharged and acquitted the appellants. In his reaction, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye, also the prosecutor, said the state government would study the judgement before deciding on the next step to take. He said,”The court has affirmed that DSS can investigate any case and does not have a jurisdictional problem to investigate a case like this.” The counsel to the appellant, who was represented by Akinyemi Omoware, said the court judgement had shown that truth would prevail over falsehood. Expressing their joy on the development, members of the church who were in the court while the judgement was being passed, started dancing and singing songs on the court premises. They said the pastor was innocent of the offence and the Lord had delivered him. One of them who identified herself as Toyin said, “We are full of joy today because God has shown His wonder. Truth has prevailed eventually.” Another member, Mr Ebun Adelayo, said God had shamed the devil. Copyright PUNCH. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH. Contact: