December 7, 2023

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Life Sentence: Appeal Court Free  Sotitobire Chapel Founder, Prophet Alfa, Over Missing Boy~NEWSEXTRA

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• Truth has prevailed over falsehood ― Appellant’s Counsel• We’ll study the judgment ― Ondo AGThe Court of Appeal, sitting in Akure, Ondo state capital, on Friday, quashed the judgement of the Ondo State High Court and set free the founder of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel in Akure, Prophet Babatunde Alfa.Prophet Alfa was sentenced to life imprisonment by the lower Court over the disappearance of a 13-month-old toddler in his church in December 2019.In the judgment which lasted about one hour, and read by the Presiding Judge, Justice Hammah Barka, who ruled that the circumstantial evidence relied upon by the High Court was not enough to convict the 43-year-old Prophet.Justice Barka faulted the prayers of the Counsel to the appellant, Gboyega Awomolo (SAN) who was represented by Akinyemi Omoware that the Department of State Security, DSS cannot investigate crime.It will be recalled that the lower Court on October 6, 2020, through Justice Olusegun Odusola of the Ondo State High Court sentenced Prophet Alfa to life imprisonment over what he described as his complicity in the mysterious disappearance of the 13-month-old boy, Gold Kolawole from his church.The prophet was sentenced on a two-count charge of conspiracy as well as aiding and abetting kidnapping along with five other persons who are members of his church.Some of those convicted along with Alfa were teachers in the children department which included, Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo and Esther Kayode.Irked by the decision of the lower Court, Alfa approached the Appeal Court asking for the nullification of the lower court judgementCounsel to the appellant, Awomolo. during the last hearing in September 2021, had queried the validity of the investigation by DSS while the police were already on the case, telling the court that the case was ‘hijacked’ by the secret service.Awomolo added that the DSS should not have arrested or investigated the case since it was a criminal matter thus nullifying other actions including the prosecution and eventual conviction of the Prophet.He added that the circumstantial evidence upon which the defendant was jailed was faulty, praying that the appellate court should quash the lower judgement of the High Court and set Prophet Alfa free.Reacting to the judgment, the Commissioner Justice and Attorney General of State, Titiloye Charles disclosed that the state government will study the judgement before thinking on the next line of action.He said ” The Court of Appeal has decided this matter. The court has affirmed that the DSS can as a matter of fact investigate any case. However, the Court of Appeal has stated that circumstantial evidence upon which was based upon by the lower court is not enough to sustain a conviction of the defendant and has discharged the defendant.“Our attitude from the state is that we will study the judgment and take a proper step we are supposed to take.”Speaking, Counsel to the appellant said “Truth must prevail over falsehood. The Prophet was convicted of conspiracy, aiding and abetting kidnapping. The Court of Appeal has overturned that judgment.“It was held that the appellant was not found culpable of the alleged offence. He is not guilty as pronounced upon by the trial court.“We are using this medium to tell the members of the church and the general public that they should rejoice with a conscience. They should not go out causing problems. They should take it that, that is the will of God. We are happy about this.“One of the defendants who is Motunrayo Ogunjobi has equally been discharged. The court said there is no iota of evidence against her just like the Prophet, that they don’t know about the commission of the offence.“The basis was that the prosecution has failed in its entirety to prove the element of the alleged offence. The implication of that is that they were convicted wrongly by the lower court. They have been justified by the Court of Appeal.“We are happy that God has vindicated him. I think that should be enough. He is a Prophet God. It has been destined that he will walk this way and pass-through this challenge. Whatever compensation that anybody may think he is entitled to, that will not be enough to justify.”It will be recalled that the 13-month-old toddler, Gold was declared missing after his mother, Mrs. Modupe Kolawole dropped him off at the church’s children department.A month after, Prophet Alfa was arrested by officials of the DSS following a petition by the missing boy parent over the alleged failure by the Nigerian Police to intervene in the situation.This led to a protest in Akure on December 18, 2019, where angry youths attacked and razed the church over rumours that the corpse of the missing baby was exhumed from the church altar.

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