Following the mysterious disappearance of one-year-old Gold Kolawole from Sotitobire Miracle Centre over a month ago, ADEWALE MOMOH writes on how the incident took another dimension on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, when news filtered in that the corpse of the missing child had been unearthed from the church’s altar
For residents of Akure, the Ondo State capital, December 18, 2019, began just like any of the day of the week as they prepare to attend to their daily activities in their places of engagement. Not long they have settled down that rumours began to filter in that Gold Kolawole, the one-year-old boy who went missing at Sotitobire Miracle Centre on November 10, 2019, had been discovered buried on the church’s altar. With the news spreading across Akure, the Ondo Stare that the founder of the church, Prophet Babatunde Alfa had allegedly used the missing boy for rituals, the mob who did not bother to find out the authenticity of the rumour besieged the church located at Oshinle Quarters area of the state capital.
Before the twinkle of an eye, all the adjoining streets leading to the church had people trooping in to catch the glimpse of what was happening. With the multitude of the crowd uncontrollable, the church was attacked and subsequently set ablaze.
Vehicles belonging to the church as well as the operational vehicle of the police and other properties within the location of the church were also burnt down by the angry youths. Also, the personal house of the founder of the church was attacked with valuables looted.
During the attack on the church, some journalists, as well as residents who were caught up in crisis, were harassed and injured as thugs loyal to Prophet Alfa engaged the youth in a fracas. According to the Correspondents of Western Post and Sahara Reporters who were attacked by the thugs said the police were present while they were being at tacked. Meanwhile, members of the Sotitobire Miracle Centre have continued to insist that Prophet Alfa is innocent of the accusations leveled against him.
The members who faulted the claim that the body of baby Gold was exhumed on the church altar described the story as false, misleading and an orchestrated plan to drag the image of Prophet Alfa in the mud.
The Church members made their position known while addressing some Journalists in Akure. Speaking through Mr. Olatunde Jackson and Barrister Akinyemi Omoware they said the news flying around that the corpse of the baby was exhumed from the Church altar was unfounded.
Olatunji said “We were having fasting and prayer over the missing child in the Church on Wednesday when hoodlums came and drove us away, subsequently setting ablaze the Church and looting properties worth millions of Naira. “Prophet Alfa is a man of integrity and a real man of God and we are so sure that this saga is an orchestrated plan to bring him down but God will not allow this to happen. “We are calling on Journalists, and the general public to go to the Church and confirm for themselves, as you will agree with me that it’s an orchestrated plan to burn
down the house of prayers. “We are calling on security agencies to also mount the premises of the church to avoid dumping incriminating objects at the premises.” Also for Mr. Yinka Fadayomi, a resident of the state while reacting to the development, he described it as unfortunate stressing that unverified news cause the avoidable crisis.
He said “I am not a member of Sotitobire but I don’t follow multitude. I have a mind of my own. I ask questions. I beg to diffe.r “It is all over the media that the dead body was exhumed and till now, no picture or video to back this claim.
“I must say this, this is a generation who prefers to record accident victims than to save the victims. You see a mother videoing her daughter inside fire than rescuing her. My point is, if they actually dug the altar, the video would have surfaced since. As I speak now, nobody was there when the altar was dug. All is rumour and wash out. “To me, this is looking like a grand conspiracy against this man of God by some mafia somewhere. Some people are just out to bring down the man of God. The church is burnt and the script is indeed playing out well. “Please ensure you have the pictures and video of the child exhume before throwing stones.
However, whatever a man sows he reaps.” For Jimmy Adekanle he started that “This is madness and it can only happen in a jungle, those arrested should face the law. This is painful and the pastor should use that media house ASAP. “And the footage of the videos should be carefully observed and those seen involved in the destruction and killings should be arrested immediately. “I said it yesterday that most of them used the opportunity to loot the pastor’s properties.
“God will judge them all. I don’t know the pastor but I’m for equity and justice.” However, some of the residents within the vicinity of the church while stating that they have had enough of the activities of Prophet Alfa. According to them, the Prophet has been making frantic efforts towards acquiring buildings on the street where the church is located.
They also frowned at the church’s mode of worship which they said have become unbearable with them as they use the sound system to pollute the environment. However, the Police Command in the state under the watch of Mr. Undie Adie has said that those suspected to be involved in the arson have been apprehended by his men with ongoing effort towards arrest others. According to Undie, his men have swung into action towards avoiding the breakdown of law and order. He said “Investigation is ongoing and I can assure you that any person linked with the incident won’t be spared.
“We were able to arrest 10 persons and they are in our custody. “We also intercepted a vehicle carrying some of the properties looted from the pastor’s house. “The police were able to protect the pastor’s house from been set ablaze but some of his properties were looted and some of his cars were damaged but the cars have been moved to state CID”.
Undie also confirmed the death of a Sergent Police Officer and two civilians noting that another Police was critically injured in the fracas The Commissioner appealed to residents of Akure to be law-abiding citizens and detach themselves from any unlawful act capable of putting them in trouble.