As the defence progressed in the Sotitobire’s missing child case, one of the witnesses, Oluwasiji Olaniyan, a pastor in the church has testified that the father of the baby, Temitope Kolawole some times ago surrendered five baskets of charms at their church with claims of undergoing a ‘transformational change.’
On Monday, defence resumed as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Adekola Olawoye (SAN) cross-examined the second defence witness (DW2).
During the cross-examination, Olawoye put it to the witness that one of the goals of establishing religious centres was to bring about a positive transformation in their adherents.
Olaniyan, while responding to questions on the circumstances of the investigation of the missing boy, maintained that he made statement to the police that the prophet had told the couple that he suspected the baby’s father on the case of the missing boy.
He, however agreed that the prophet did not report the ushers at the police station and that he was only invited at the DSS office upon a petition submitted by the parents of the missing boy, while he admitted that about 5000 members worshipped at their church.
The defense third witness (DW3), Richard Akinnagbe, in his testimony, who claimed to be a veterinary doctor by profession said he lives at South city estate.
He professed to know the parents of the missing boy and all the defendants, and said that he was in the church to attend the service.
After the sermon, I heard a noise behind and upon enquiry, it was about the missing boy. And I assisted the mother to look for the child around the church,” Akinnagbe said.
He also testified that the mother had confided in him that her husband forced her to come to church and also mandated her to drop the baby off at the children department of the church.
According to him, the mother of the baby admitted that she could not report to the police because sometime in November, 2018, her husband was kidnapped.
She said that the kidnappers demanded N3 million and they paid N1.2 million before her husband was released.
“My husband and his friends are the ones that will look for my baby because I know what they are capable of doing.
“When we got back, we met the husband drinking La Casera. She attacked him and held his clothes while accusing him of being nonchalant about the missing boy.
“I tried to separate them. In short, it was around 8 p.m before I left for home.” Akinnagbe said.
He explained further that he felt the need to contribute to the investigation having been involved in the case at the onset.
He explained that he had been to ‘B’ Division and FSARS in Akure before he was later referred to the DSS office.
He claimed that he wrote statements three times at the DSS office while they tore it with an explanation that it was not what they expected from him.
He said that he was detained overnight at the DSS office while they took his picture after ordering him to remove his clothes which he did.
He also claimed that the officers put cuffs on his hands and legs overnight.
During cross-examination, the Attorney General asked him to reconcile the fact that he first testified that the mother of the missing boy had confided in him that she suspected her husband and his later claim that she was coming to the church the next day to fight the prophet and she was coming with kerosene and petrol to burn down the church.
He probed further that how did she make the swift change overnight if his claim were to be believed.
As there was no other witnesses in court, they applied for an adjournment till the next day, Tuesday, June 30.
The development, did not go well with the judge who reminded them that all concerned parties had agreed to an accelerated hearing and that since the defence had indicated that it would call twenty witnesses, the court had cleared it’s diary to accommodate them.
While adjourning till the next day, he ordered that the defence must bring at least five more of its witnesses to court.
When the case resume the following day, the defence called its fourth witness (DW4).
The fourth witness, Taiwo Fagite who elected to swear by Ogun, said he was the traditional personal assistant to the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi.
He said that he knows the defendants and the parents of the missing boy.
According to him, on November 12, the baby’s father came to the palace and met him at the male passage way in the palace.
He said that he explained his situation to him and he had asked him what he had been doing regarding the missing boy as he did not look like someone whose child was missing.
Fagite testified further that Kolawole asked to see the king with the hope that he would fight his cause.
“The prophet was invited for noon. And when he came, Kolawole was nowhere to be found when he was directed to call him to the meeting.
I was informed by the other palace staff that Kolawole had left when he saw the prophet,” he said.
He expressed that he was surprised when he saw on the social media the next morning that the father of the baby claimed that he was chased out of the palace.
He stated further that he saw the missing boy’s parents when he went to Anti-kidnapping office the next day to lodge a complaint of a missing maid at the palace with the O/C kidnapping whom he called “Father Christmas.”
He claimed to have rebuked them before the police for being nonchalant about their missing boy and also spreading false information.
He said that he had to prevail upon the couple to come to palace in order to clear the integrity of the palace which had been smeared.
He said that the husband came on the third day and explained that his wife could not come because they had a festival in their hometown, Ondo.
He testified that Kolawole demanded that he wanted the children department ushers to swear at the Palace that they knew nothing about the disappearance of the missing boy which they did.
During cross-examination, the Attorney General asked him to reconcile the fact that a man who came with a complaint would disappear when the person he came to report showed up.
He also put it to him that when the prophet came calling at the palace, he was accompanied by a popular Akure chief, popularly known as Ade Basket.
He also said that about 20 people accompanied the prophet on the said day.
Also testifying, one of the evangelists, Funmilayo Ogunmusi described the circumstances of the child disappearance.
She told the court that the church workers and ministers went on several spiritual exercises in order to unravel the mystery behind the development.
The hearing was, however brought to a halt despite the court’s directive that the defence should bring in five more of its witnesses as the lead counsel, Olusola Oke sought an adjournment on health grounds amidst other factors.
Though not well disposed to the application, Justice Olusegun Odusola adjourned the case till July 14, 15, 16,22 and 23, 2020 for continuation of hearing.