Missing Toddler: Court Admits Video Recordings As Evidence Against Ondo Prophet
Prophet Babatunde confirmed that he told the parents of the missing boy to come through the right channel and beg so he could pray for the recovery of the boy.
The Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure over the case of a one-year-old boy, Eniola Gold Kolawole, declared missing at the Sotitobire Miracle Centre, on Monday, admitted two video clips as evidence against the founder of the church, Prophet Alfa Babatunde.
Operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) presented the two videos before Justice Olusegun Odunsola of the State High Court.
Adekunle Akanbi, an operative of the DSS, who tendered the videos, told the court that they were retrieved from the laptop of Prophet Babatunde during investigations.
He disclosed that the videos contained an interview with journalists and a procession from Deji of Akure’s Palace to Prophet Babatunde’s Church after Kolawole got missing.
According to him, the two videos also contained the cleric’s statement and five other defendants in the case who are under interrogation over the case of the missing child.
While being quizzed by DSS operatives in one of the videos relayed in the court, Prophet Babatunde confirmed that he told the parents of the missing boy to come through the right channel and beg so he could pray for the recovery of the boy.
Babatunde said he made the statement because the parents resorted to carrying placards in town as well went ahead to tell the Deji of Akure Kingdom, Oba Ogunlade Aladelusi Adetoyinbo, that he was not doing anything about their missing son.
He claimed that he was ministering in the church while the young boy got missing and that his account was what the ushers in the children department told him.
The court also watched the video recording of the 2nd Defendant, Omolara Olayinka, and adjourned till Tuesday, 16th June.
However, an attempt by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adekola Olawoye, who led the prosecution, to tender the compact disc (CD) containing the retrieved videos as an exhibit was resisted by lead Defence Counsel, Mr Olusola Oke.
Mr. Oke cited discrepancies in the date on the document backing the electronic item and that on the CD, supporting his arguments with section 84 of the evidence act.
He also raised some objection when Olawoye sought to tender a CD containing the video recording of DSS interrogation of Prophet Babatunde and 5 other defendants.
Justice Odusola, however, ruled in favour of the prosecution by accepting all the CDs as exhibits. Odusola ordered that all the content should be played in the court over the ongoing case of the missing boy.
Prophet Babatunde and 6 other church members are standing trial on three counts, including conspiracy to commit felony to wit: aiding and abetting kidnapping, aiding and abetting to kidnap and destroying evidence.