What DSS found in our house, by wife of detained General Overseer
Five hours of madness
By Dayo Johnson
Youths in Akure, Ondo State capital went on the rampage, razing the headquarters of Sotitobire Miracle Centre over alleged lack of remorse over missing boy of one-year-old Gold Kolawole during Sunday Service in the church over a month ago.
Four persons, including a policeman, a motorcycle operator popularly called Okada and an onlooker were feared in the over five hours’ rampage.
But the police confirmed the death of their officer and a motorcyclist.
The missing boy had been taken to the church by her mother, Modupe Kolawole, on November 10 for spiritual deliverance but went missing during service inside the church.
While the deceased policeman was reportedly mobbed while trying to ward off the youths who invaded the church premises Wednesday morning, the other casualties were victims of stray bullets.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that rumour that the operatives of the DSS who arrested the General Overseer, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, were in the church to exhume the corpse of Gold from the altar sparked the unrest.
Residents of Akure, in their hundreds, had mobilised to the Osinle area of the state capital where the church is located to have a glimpse of the rumoured exhumation.
But what they met further infuriated them as the leaders of the church were reportedly in the midst of a church programme where they were praying against the incarceration of their General Overseer.
The youths challenged the church leaders.
The exchange degenerated into a shouting match which eventually snowballed into the razing of the church.
Members of the church fled in different directions while the police and other security operatives deployed to the riotous scene were harassed and molested following which they retreated.
No fewer than six houses and five vehicles parked in the church premises were burnt by the mob.
The youths, in fact, waited to ensure that the houses and cars were completely razed before they headed for Alfa’s private residence where they also damaged the building and over six posh vehicles parked inside.
The General Overseer’s family members and security guards who got wind of attack on the residence at Oda Road fled.
While the youths wreaked havoc, Alfa remained in detention at the Akure office of the Department of State Services, DSS. He was arrested for questioning over a week ago following a petition reportedly written by the parents of the missing child.
Operatives of the agency have equally arrested other pastors, security guards and children teachers on duty when the boy went missing.
My son’s corpse not exhumed at the altar – Mother of missing boy
Meanwhile, the mother of the missing boy, Modupe, denied that the corpse of his son was exhumed at the altar of the church before it was razed by irate youths.
Modupe said his boy was yet to be found and condemned the detained prophet for allegedly exhibiting gross negligence in the matter of Gold.
Ondo State Police Command confirmed the death of a policeman and a motorcyclist.
Spokesperson Femi Joseph said the church was set ablaze by youths following a rumour that the body “of a recently declared missing boy in the state has been exhumed from Sotitobire”.
Detained General Overseer drags DSS to court
In a separate development, counsel to Sotitibire General Overseer, Akinyemi Omoware, has approached the Federal High Court, Akure to enforce his client’s fundamental human rights.
“We are asking for N100 million as aggravated damages against respondents jointly and severally for the violation of the fundamental rights of the applicant, unlawful detention and failure to arraign him over the incident of one-year-boy, Gold Kolawole, who went missing in his church”, he said.
“The DSS has refused to either arraign him in court or release him on bail. This is the height of injustice.
“On Friday 13/12/19, we were constrained to file an application at the Federal High Court, Akure to enforce our client’s fundamental human rights. An advance copy thereof was served on DSS.”
My husband is innocent – Bisola, Alfa’s wife
The wife of Alfa, Bisola, on her part, raised the alarm over her husband’s health in the DSS custody, alleging that he collapsed and was rushed to hospital.
According to her, Alfa’s health had deteriorated rapidly since he was detained.
“We expect the DSS to have either admitted my husband to bail or charge him to court if there is evidence against him”, she said.
“Some of the invited children teachers have also been detained by the DSS while the rest were released”.
“It is surprising that the DSS operatives came with my husband to search our house and church without the knowledge of his lawyer that went with him to their office.
“I am happy that only Bibles and international passports of church members were found by the DSS operatives”.
Prophetess Alfa said her husband was not involved in the abduction of the missing boy.
She challenged “anyone with evidence that may link Prophet Babatunde Alfa with the abduction of missing Gold Kolawole to release it for the world to see”.
The wife expressed disappointment with the negative insinuations by some people over the rapid growth of the church.
“This is a church where we do not ask people to bring money. Prophet will only pray for people and some of them that received answers to their prayers would willingly return to appreciate God with their substance.
“They are saying when did Sotitobire Church start that it now has a large congregation? That to me is quite disappointing to say the least”.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that prominent personalities may have been putting pressure on the DSS to release the detained prophet on self recognition.
It was also reliably gathered that a prominent traditional ruler tried to talk Governor Rotimi Akeredolu into intervening on Alfa’s detention but the overtures were rejected by the governor who insisted that the matter be allowed to run its full course with security operatives.
Branches of the church across the state capital remained under lock and key after the burning of the church headquarters on Wednesday.
Late Thursday, the state government described the mysterious disappearance of Gold as heart-aching.
It, however, said security agencies had heightened efforts to get to the root of the matter.
“It is, perhaps, instructive to disclose that Mr. Governor was being briefed in respect of the incident by other relevant security agencies, including the DSS, until the unfortunate action of which culminated in needless deaths and destruction of property”, a statement said.
‘Leave me out’
At the weekend, Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, denied collecting money from Alfa to push for the General Overseer’s release from the DSS custody.
Speculations were rife that the traditional ruler took sides in the matter because Alfa is an indigene of Akure.
Some members of the public also accused the Oba and the police of collecting money from the prophet to pervert the course of justice.
But the traditional ruler, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Michael Adeyeye, said, “It is laughable and barbaric that some faceless individuals also claimed that His Majesty received a huge sum of money to push for the release of the cleric and also compromise investigators.
“This remains a figment of the imagination of whoever is behind the rumor. We challenge anyone with such evidence to provide it.
“We deeply frown at any attempt to bring the revered institution into disrepute. We urge the good people of Akure Kingdom and the general public to disregard such satanic rumor.
“The Kabiyesi will not in any way be part of any attempt to prevent the law from taking its due course. As a man who believes in justice and equity, he will not be involved in shady dealings under any guise.
“It is, therefore, wrong for anyone to drag the Deji into such matter which is criminal in nature with the intent of disrupting the investigation.
“His Majesty is ever ready to support any move that will to help to find the missing child, unravel the mystery and bring any person or group of person involved to the book”.