An Akure-based pastor, John Abiodun, will spend the next two years in prison on the orders of an Ondo State High Court for perjury. Pastor Abiodun was convicted by Justice Bode Adegbehingbe for deliberately telling lies and publishing false allegations against the founder of Promiseland Prophetic Ministry, Gbenga Akinbiyi.
The convict, the court held, made a statement on oath, knowing fully well that such averment was not only false but malicious. Abiodun was arrested in 2019 for lying against Akinbiyi that seven placentas were planted on the church’s altar located at Shasha area of Akure, Ondo State. The convict, who was a former member of the church, was said to have sworn an affidavit before the Commissioner for Oaths, on the matter. Abiodun, alongside with a lecturer of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Prof. Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, were later arraigned on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, publications of false information, perjury, impersonation, threatening violence among others. The second defendant, Olu- Adeyemi, was the admin of the WhatsApp group, through which the false publication and accusation was passed. During court proceedings on the matter, various witnesses were called by the court on the sides of both prosecutors and defendants.
In his verdict, Justice Adegbehingbe found Abiodun guilty of count five of the charge for contradicting himself while giving evidence in the allegation against him which included using different church WhatsApp platforms and other social media to malign, carry out false publication and wrongly accuse the founder of the church.
The court said Abiodun was found guilty of committing perjury which is punishable under Section 118 of Criminal Code, Laws of Ondo State. The court also held that, in law, anybody found guilty of perjury was liable to life or 14 years imprisonment but due to the plea by the defence counsel, Mr. Olanrewaju Adesanmi, who pleaded leniency, the judge reduced the jail term to two years.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment,” Adegbehingbe ruled. The second defendant was discharged and acquitted as the court said the investigation conducted by the police on his involvement in the matter was shoddy. The prosecution counsel, Mr. Kayode Dare, expressed satisfaction on the judgement. He said the court had vindicated Akinbiyi and other members of his church as it concerned burying of placentas on the altar.