…the joy, the sadness, the uncertainties
December 18, 2019 would be a day to remember in the history of Akure, the Ondo State capital, for the members of Sotitobire Prayer centre and the family of the people who incidentally and unfortunately lost their lives by stray bullet
Mourners were mourning their loved ones, Akure residents who assembled at the scene of the incident were thanking God for exposing the ills going on in the church, while Taxi drivers were rejoicing for making profit as all roads led to Oshinle, causing the drivers to exceed the standard number of passengers as people were rushing to go and have a glimpse of the incident.
No fewer than five people, including a Police officer, Okada rider, lost their lives today when angry mob descended on Sotitobire church and set it ablaze, burnt vehicles.
It all started when officers of the Department of Security Service, DSS, visited the headquarters of the church in Oshinle this morning as part of the ongoing investigation of the missing one year old boy, Gold Kolawole, who was allegedly stolen from the church’s creche last month.
Though, no concrete evidence to establish the information that the DSS officers exhumed the corpse of a baby on the altar of the church, the angry youths claimed that a baby was actually exhumed and therefore reacted by setting the church ablaze immediately.
This led to the intervention of the men of the Nigerian Police who made efforts to prevent them, and it turned bloody; a Policeman shot at one man, others retaliated and killed him, and the situation became unmanageable, until the whole building was burnt.
Meanwhile, the testimonies of majority of Oshinle residents attract a question that, ‘were they praying for his downfall before now’?
It started with, “His father’s spirit exposed him, the man died this year and throughout his lifetime, he vowed not to collect a dime from his son, (Sotitobire’s Founder), saying his money was uncleaned”.
Another said, “No more Yahoo night, God has set free Oshinle people from “Ipe to Shana”.
About nine workers of the church had been arrested two days ago by DSS officers, an action that they said led to the confession that something was buried on the altar.
A woman who claimed to be a relative of the lost child, spoke with JATS Online Reporter unconsciously. She narrated that the family had sought spiritual explanation to the disappearance of the boy, and were told that the boy can never be found alive, but that his spirit vowed to expose the church’s Founder.
So many uncertain information were divulged by her and other onlookers. It was said that the arrest of the Sotitobire’s founder was master-minded by a powerful monarch in the Southwest, as a result of the public outcry made by the mother of the missing boy, through so many media platforms, BBC Yoruba inclusive.
It was rather unfortunate that in the face of shootings and burning of the church, some youths were seen looting the church’s property, moving the moveable like Generators.
As Nigerians continue to condemn the role of the Nigerian Police on the incident since the onset, the media was therefore, commended.
The truth remains with the DSS.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Femi Joseph had issued a statement to this effect and to apologize to some journalists who were harassed and injured by some Police Officers at the scene.
Some journalists were hospitalized.
The Ondo State Police Command wishes to inform the general public particularly the People of Ondo State that they should disregard the rumours making the rounds that the body of a recently declared missing boy in the state has been exhumed from Sotitobire church in Akure. It is most unfortunate that this misleading information spearheaded by a popular TV station, has ignited a spontaneous reactions from the people leading to wanton destruction of properties and injuries to many. The church building was also set ablaze by irate youths. Some of our officers despatched to the scene to contain the situation were pelted with stones with many of them sustaining injuries. Their patrol vehicle was also badly damaged. This rejoinder became necessary to disabuse the minds of many Nigerians who might have fallen for this wicked lies and propaganda. The public should also not be hoodwinked by reports that the command has abandoned the investigation of the incident,as the case file is already on the way to the DPP for legal advice. Notwithstanding this latest incident, more reinforcement has been sent to the scene to contain the situation. Femi Joseph PPRO Ondo State.
“It just got to my notice that some members of the pen profession who were on hand to cover the incident at Sotitobire church this morning were harassed or manhandled by some overzealous policemen drafted to maintain order at the scene. I want to sincerely and profusely apologize on behalf of the command. I will not stand here to say that some of our men,in the course of doing such job will not ruffle some feathers especially while controlling the unprecedented crowd where it might be difficult to know who is what . please and please forgive them although we shall take some steps to upbraid those recalcitrant ones among them even if to forestall future reoccurrence. We respect you journalists as great partners in building the society of our dreams. Yes,as friends we seldom disagree but we remain inseparable colleagues. Once again am on my knees apologising on their behalf. On a sad note,as a result of fake news today, we lost a policeman,and a suspected arsonist.. Let’s guide against fake news… Femi Joseph PPRO Ondo State.”