An Ondo State High Court has sentenced the founder of Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Pastor Samuel Babatunde, popularly known as Alfa Babatunde and five others to life imprisonment after being found guilty of child kidnapping.
Alfa Babatunde was facing a count charge of kidnapping over the “disappearance” of a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole, in his Chapel in 2019.
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Delivering his judgement on Tuesday, Justice Olusegun Odusola convicted the defendants, having found them guilty of two counts of kidnapping, aiding and abetting to kidnap “based on the circumstantial evidence” presented by the prosecution.
Kolawole was abducted by an unknown person during the church service at the children’s section of the Chapel, located at Oshinle Quarters in Akure, in November 2019.
Ever since his abduction, his whereabouts has not been known till date.
The Ondo state government and the State Security Service took Alfa Babatunde to court on Monday, December 23 accusing him of Kidnapping Gold Kolawole from his church on November 10, 2019.
Alfa Babatunde was kept at the Olokuta Custodial Centre after the state security service testified that the pastor and some of his chapel workers have a say in Kolawole’s disappearance from the chapel.
Kolawole’s mother in a chat with the BBC said she’s suspecting a foul play over her child’s disappearance.
She added that the church isn’t helping the concerned authorities with investigations.
- A timeline of Kolawole’s disappearance
- On November 10 2019, Gold Kolawole disappeared from the Children’s section of the Sotitobire Praising Chapel in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
- On the 18th day of December 2019, protesters burnt the Sotitobite Praising Chapel.
- The Ondo state government took Alfa Babatunde to court on the 23rd day of December,2019.
- January 17, 2020, the court remanded four principal suspects involved in the destruction of the Chapel to the Olokuta Custodal Centre.
- On the 6th day of April, 2020, the trial of Alfa Babatunde continued.
- June 3, 2020, Kolawole’s father gave witness after which the court adjourned the case to October 6, 2020 for judgement.