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The founder of Sotitobire Praising Chapel, in Akure, Ondo state, Prophet Babatunde Alfa has been released from Olokuta Correctional Centre in Akure, the state capital.

Prophet Alfa regained his freedom from the facility after the Court set him free last week Friday.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, had last week Friday set aside the judgement of the Ondo state High Court that sentenced the founder to life imprisonment over a two count charge of conspiring, aiding and abetting the disappearance of a one year old boy, Gold Kolawole in his Church in 2019.

Alfa is the founder of Sotitobire Church where the mother of the missing boy, Mrs. Modupe Kolawole dropped him during a Sunday service.

Alfa’s defense counsel, Akinyele Omoware confirmed his release to newsmen in Akure yesterday.

Dressed in white attire, Alfa who was released to his lawyers was thereafter received at the main entrance of the correctional centre by members of his immediate family led by his wife, Bisola, church members, friends and well wishers.

Meanwhile, his church members have converged on the church to give a rousing welcome to him with singing and dancing.

Justice Olusegun Odusola of the Ondo State High court had sentenced the prophet to life imprisonment over what he described as his complicity in the mysterious disappearance of a 13-month-old boy, Gold Kolawole from his church in 2019.

Others convicted were teachers in the churchs’ children department and they include; Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo and Esther Kayode.

Not satisfied with his conviction by the lower court, Prophet Alfa approached the Court of Appeal asking the court to nullify the life imprisonment judgment.

Delivering judgement on behalf of other Court of Appeal judges last week Friday, Justice Gamma Barka ruled that the circumstantial evidence the high court based its judgement was not enough to convict him.

Justice Barka therefore discharged and acquitted Prophet Alfa of the offence.

He set aside the prayer of the counsel to the appellant, Gboyega Awomolo (SAN) that the Department of State Security, DSS cannot investigate crime.

Awomolo had during the trial questioned the validity of the investigation by DSS while the police was already on the case. He said the case was ‘hijacked’ by the secret service.

He added that the DSS should not have arrested or investigated the case since it was a criminal matter thus nullifying other actions including the prosecution and eventual conviction of the prophet.

According to him, “the circumstantial evidence upon which the defendant was jailed was faulty, praying that the appellate court should quash the lower judgement of the High Court and set Prophet Alfa free”.

Speaking, the counsel to the appellant, Awomolo said “Truth must prevail over falsehood.

“The Prophet was convicted of conspiracy, aiding and abetting kidnapping. The Court of Appeal has overturned that judgment.

“It was held that the appellant was not found culpable of the alleged offence. He is not guilty as pronounced upon by the trial court.”

On his part, the State Attorney General and Justice Commissioner, Titiloye Charles said that the state government will have to study the judgement before taking decision on the next line of action.

Titiloye said “The Court of Appeal has decided this matter. The court has affirmed that the DSS can as a matter of fact investigate any case.

“However, the Court of Appeal has stated that circumstantial evidence upon which was based upon by the lower court is not enough to sustain conviction of the defendant and has discharged the defendant.

“Our attitude from the state is that we will study the judgment and take proper step we are supposed to take.”

On December 18, 2019, angry youths attacked and razed the church over rumours that the corpse of the missing baby was exhumed from the church altar.

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Julius Adegunna, a writer, and publisher of good news and reports. He is also a trainer in Writing and Publishing, a Media Consultant and an Entrepreneur. A 1987 Graduate of International Relations of the University of Ife, (Now Obafemi Awolowo University) with Post Graduate Diploma in International Relations, and Master in Communication Studies of Lagos State University. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

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