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saharareporters - 17 days ago

Ondo Prophet Opens Defence As Wife, 20 Others Testify In Case Of Missing Toddler


Prophet Alfa Babatunde, founder of Sotitobire Miracle Centre in Akure, Ondo State, on Thursday said that he had 20 witnesses to testify for him in court over the case of a one year old boy named Gold Eniola Kolawole, who was declared missing in his church. Babatunde and his co-defendants are standing trial on a three-count charge including conspiracy to aid and abet kidnapping, kidnapping and destroying evidence. At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday at the High Court in Akure, the prophet was allowed to open his defence in the ongoing case in order to prove his innocence over the dissapearance of the boy. Olusola Oke, counsel to the defendant, who announced the number of witnesses on behalf of Babatunde, said they were all ready to testify in court for the defendants in the case. He explained that three of them (witnness) would go through cross examination on the first day of opening the defence. Oke called the first witness, who is the prophet s wife, Bisola, before the court. During cross examination, the woman said her husband showed concern and also made effort to find the missing boy before he was arrested by the DSS. She added that the DSS came to search their home but found nothing incriminating that could link the prophet to the case of the missing boy in his church. According to her, one Adamu also sent some message to her husband s phone alleging that two prominent pastors paid him to kidnap the boy. Bisola also added that she had always put her wards in the children department but the statement of the Head of Children Department, and third defendant, Margaret Oyebola, indicated otherwise. She noted that her husband never told her he suspected anybody of complicity in the case but a statement by the prophet tendered as exhibit indicated that he suspected the fourth defendant, Grace Ogunjobi, of a foul play over the dissapearance of the child. Also, the second witness, a pastor in the same church, Mr Oluwasiji Olaniyi, claimed that they all prayed in the church overnight the day the boy went missing. Oluwasiji added that the following day, Prophet Babatunde confronted the father of the missing child and accused him of knowing the whereabouts of his own son but his wife got angry. Lead prosecutor and Commissioner for Justice in the State, Kolawole Olawoye, however, said the prosecution would not tolerate any attempt to waste the time of the court by the defendants with the number of witnesses lined up. The judge later adjourned the case until next Monday for continuation. Prophet Babatunde and other defendants were later returned to the Nigeria Correctional Service Centre at Olokuta.
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