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Missing child: Court remands family of four, others

By Ayodele Popoola

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An Akure Magistrate Court, on Tuesday remanded seven suspects, including a family of four, allegedly involved in the case of a missing two-and-a-half-year-old child, Obaloluwa Ajobiewe.

The suspects are; Charity John, 35; Meshak Job, 18; Rimankuku Job, 15; Godstime Joseph,15; Emmanuel Job, 40; John Joseph, 27 and Bosede Emmanuel, 30.

Magistrate T. O. Olusola-Olujobi, who did not take the defendants’ pleas, ordered that their remand at various correctional centres across the state, saying there was a probable cause to do so.

Olusola-Olujobi, directed the police to send the case file to the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP) for advice.

The defendants were arraigned on an amended charge on Thursday, after previous arraignments on three counts of charge of alleged aid and abetting, kidnapping, and breach of the peace.

The Hope Metro gathered that the mother of the boy reported him missing to the police on January 24, 2024, at Giwa Babarere Camp, Reserve area in Idoani, Ose Local Government Area of the state.

The mother of the missing child, Roseline Ajobiewe, claimed she saw her child playing with one of the defendants before she went to the stream to fetch water. But to her surprise, she did not see her child again when she returned.

Police prosecutor, Taiwo Oniyere, told the court that the defendants committed the offence at about 6 pm at the Camp in Idoani.

Oniyere alleged the defendants conspired to kidnap the two-and-a-half-year-old, Obaoluwa Ajobiewe and deprived the child of his lawful parents, Friday and Roseline Ajobiewe.

He also said on the same date, time, and place, the defendant unlawfully took hostage and seized the alleged child from the care of his parents, which prevented them from discovering his whereabouts.

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Oniyere further alleged that the first defendant, Charity and her husband, Joseph, caused a breach of the peace, by preventing the camp search team from entering their house to search for the missing child.

The offence, according to the charge, contravened Sections 5(1) and 3(1) of the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Act of Ondo State, 2010. And Section 249(d) of the Criminal Code, Cap.37, Vol 1. Laws of the Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.

Due to the nature of the offence, the prosecutor through an application urged the court to remand all the defendants at the correctional centre pending advice from the DPP.

Lawyer to the defendants, T.A. Okesola, prayed the court to commit his clients to bail in the most liberal terms.

He canvassed that the application is bereft of time and the same amount to an afterthought, adding that the charge upon which the application is predicated was brought in bad faith which is meant to punish the defendants unjustly.

“ The said charge is an abuse of court process having regards to the fact that the defendants were granted bail on the previous charges which was a case of child stealing and the question begging for answer and that it does not disclose any probable cause justifying the remand of the defendants,” Okesola posited.

Magistrate Olusola-Olujobi ordered that the first and the last defendants be remanded at the Female Correctional Centre in Ondo town, while the fifth and the sixth defendants be remanded at Olokuta Correctional Centre in Akure.

As for the second, third, and fourth defendants who are minors, the magistrate directed that they should be taken the State Juvenile Home, pending advice from the DPP.

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The Magistrate adjourned the case till June 9, 2024 for mention.

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