Appeal Court acquits Sotitobire prophet jailed for life over missing child

Sotitobire Chapel prophet Alfa Babatunde

The Court of Appeal in Akure, Ondo State has set aside the ruling of an Ondo State High Court which sentenced Prophet Alfa Babatunde of Sotitobire Praising Chapel to life imprisonment over the mysterious disappearance of a one-year-old boy Gold Kolawole from his church.

Ruling on Friday, Justice Hamma Barka discharged and acquitted Babatunde.

Babatunde was arrested by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) after Gold was said to have disappeared during church service in November 2019.

He was later taken to court along with six members of the church over allegations that they conspired to kidnap the boy.

The clergyman and the other suspects have since been remanded at the Olokuta Correctional Facility in the Ondo State capital while the case continued.

In October 2020, Justice Olusegun Odusola of the high court in Akure sentenced the prophet and five others to life imprisonment.

The seventh person was discharged and acquitted as the court held that the prosecution counsel could not prove any case against him.

The defendants were sentenced on two counts of kidnapping, as well as aiding and abetting to kidnap, based on the evidence provided by the prosecutor.

Those charged along with Babatunde were Olayinka Omodara, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Motunrayo Egunjobi, Esther Kayode and Peter Anjorin.

However, Babatunde appealed the judgement in February to prove his innocence.