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70 DAYS AFTER: I am empty without only son

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By Dayo Johnson, Akure

…Mum of boy allegedly kidnapped during church service

IT IS exactly 70 days today since the one-year-old Gold Eninla Kolawole disappeared mysteriously at the headquarters of the Sotitobire Miracle Centre located at Osinle area of Akure, Ondo State capital during a Sunday service.

The whereabouts of the only child of Mr and Mrs Temitope Kolawole, who went missing on Nov 10, remain unknown.

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The General Overseer of the church Prophet Babatunde Alfa, and the children’s teachers on the day the child went missing have been charged to court and remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Centre, Akure by a Chief Magistrate Court.

Boy’s mother speaks…

Meanwhile, the mother of the victim, Modupe, remained hopeful that his child would one day rejoin the family.

“l have the strong belief that my son would soon be found alive. I am not losing hope a bit”, she said.

According to her, she felt empty during Christmas and New Year when she celebrated the festivities without the child.

“The last festivities were the worst for me as I felt really empty without my only son with me. I just kept thinking of him and where he could be. It was a tough and rough period for me”, the mother said.

“It has not been easy. During this festive period, others were jubilating but, for us as a family, we were in a sad mood.

“In fact, all I want is my child. That is the most important thing right now. I want my child. I have been praying to God to bring him back to us alive.

“I know that when he comes back, all the secrets that have been hidden will be revealed. I know he is going to come back alive by God’s grace.

“I’m appealing to everyone to help us with prayers towards finding our son. I still have the belief, I still have the faith that my child is alive and he will definitely come back alive”.

Modupe alleged that the family members had been receiving threats from unknown persons over the missing child.

Her words, “We are still being threatened by unknown persons. We cannot walk freely in town, we can’t do anything.

“There are unknown people making threats through phone calls. When we go out in the car, we still notice people trailing us but that has reduced. The phone threat is still on. We have alerted the authorities over this.

“And the latest we are facing is that policemen have been looking for my husband. We don’t even understand why they are looking for us. I don’t know if they are trying to implicate us”.

Speaking on the findings by the Department of State Services, DSS, she said, “On the ongoing investigations towards finding my child, I don’t really know what is going on.

“As you know DSS doesn’t reveal much. What I’m just hoping is that God will take absolute control. God will guide them (DSS) to be able to find where the child is”.

In a related development, four persons have been remanded at Olokuta Correctional Service facility by a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Akure over alleged murder, arson, malicious damage and stealing at Sotitobire Miracle Centre which was razed over the missing child.

Yusuf Owa, Adebayo Adeyemi, Adeleye Omowumi and Adu Babatunde are facing a six -count-charge of felony, conspiracy, murder, arson and stealing.

They allegedly killed one Sergeant Sheidu Ocheopo at Sotitobire while performing his lawful duty.

The trial Magistrate, Mrs Charity Adeyanju, ordered that they be remanded pending when the motion on notice would be heard and thereafter adjourned the case till tomorrow (Monday).

Case resumes

Alfa is also expected to appear in court on Friday for the resumed hearing of the case of alleged kidnapping of Gold.

The General Overseer was accused of conspiring to kidnap the boy.

The alleged offence is punishable under Section 5 of Ondo State Anti-kidnapping and Anti-abduction Law 2010.

Other suspects docked are Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo, Esther Kayode and Peter Anjorin

Anjorin was separately accused of secretly taking away vital evidence that could have aided speedy investigation of the case and punishable under Section 123 of the Criminal Code and Cap 37 Laws of Ondo State.

Church under lock and keys

Findings by Sunday Vanguard, last week, showed that all the branches of the embattled church in Ondo have remained under lock and keys since the General Overseer was arrested and the church headquarters set ablaze by irate youths.

A visit to the branches of the church across Akure showed that all services had been suspended forthwith.

Only a handful of policemen were seen at the branches of the church.

We didn’t raze church —Youth leader

Also at the weekend, youths of Akure washed their hands off the burning of Sotitobire.

Their leader, Hon. Tuyi, dissociated his members from those who took the law into their hands and burned the church.

Tuyi said some miscreants wreaked the havoc.

According to him, Akure youths are law abiding and would not engage in arson no matter the provocation.

Police arrest self-acclaimed kidnapper

Separately, the police said a scammer who posed as the kidnapper of the missing boy has been arrested.

Police spokesman, Femi Joseph, who disclosed this in a statement, said, “We have in our custody a self-confessed scammer and serial fraudster, one Chibuzor Elike, 39, of Etche town in Cross River, who wanted to take advantage of a bad situation to defraud the people.

“The man, who said he heard about the kidnap of young Gold via the social media, confessed that he actually called some people and sent text messages where he stated that he had Kolawole Gold in his custody and will only release him after collecting N800, 000.

“He also confessed that he was not sent by anyone to implicate Pastor Babatunde Alpha of Sotitobire Church as earlier stated in his numerous calls and text messages.

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“He said he was just looking for a cheap way to make money as he knew nothing about the kidnap or the whereabouts of the little boy

“The suspect who is now in our custody will appear in court on Monday (tomorrow).

Vanguard

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