By Damilola Akinmolayan
Five pastors of the Whole Bible Believer Church, Ondo have been arraigned at an Akure Magistrates’ Court over alleged kidnapping.
The pastors: David Anifowose, 64, Josiah Peter, 49, Stephen Olawole, 51, Blessing John, 60 and Gbenga Ayembo Gbenga, 56.
They were arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on kidnapping and unlawful habour and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
It will be recalled that security operatives at the weekend burst the Whole Bible believer church where 77 church members were allegedly camped at the underground apartment of the church.
The members were said to be waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ on the instruction of the Assistant Pastor Peter Josiah.
The police prosecutor Augustine Omhenimhen told the court that the pastors conspired together to commit felony to with kidnapping.
He said the accused persons unlawfully imprisoned the children of one Elizabeth Reuben and prevented their parents to have access to them.
The prosecutor said they also took the custody and harboured the wife and children of one Patrick Olaniyan and blocked access to them.
He said they accused persons also unlawfully lured and harboured one Priscilla Olorunyomi and prevented her from embarking on her education pursuit.
Omhenimhen said the accused persons unlawfully deprived the church members of their freedom against their will and also placed them in a dehumanizing environment which made them prone to diseases.
The accused persons were also accused of assaulting, resisting and willfully obstructing Inspector Rotimi Ogunji while on lawful duty.
They were also charged over unlawfully take away or underaged girls from the protection of their parents without their permission.
He said contravened and punishable under Section 225, 361, 364 (2), 365, 365(2), 516 of the Criminal Code Cap, 37. Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.
The defense counsel, Oladele Ayoola prayed the court not to remand the accused persons in order to file the bail application.
In his ruling, Magistrate O.R Yakubu ordered that the accused persons be remanded in police custody.
He, thereafter, adjourned the case till July 8, 2022 for the court, DPP to advice on the remand application.
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