At least five pastors of the Whole Bible Believer Church, Ondo State, have been remanded by Ondo State Magistrates’ Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, over alleged kidnapping.
The suspects were arrested in connection with allegedly keeping 77 people who were discovered in the basement 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, so they stopped schooling and working and were living in the church, abandoning their homes.
The defendants are David Anifowose, 64; Josiah Peter, 49; Stephen Olawole, 51; Blessing John, 60 and Ayembo Gbenga, 56.
They were arraigned on 10 counts bordering on kidnapping and unlawful habour. They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
During the arraignment, the police prosecutor, Augustine Omhenimhen, told the court that the pastors conspired together to commit a felony of kidnapping, adding that the defendants unlawfully imprisoned the children of one Elizabeth Reuben and prevented their parents to have access to them.
He said the offence contravened and was punishable under Sections 225, 361, 364 (2), 365, 365(2), 516 of the Criminal Code Cap, 37. Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.
However, the defence counsel, Oladele Ayoola, prayed the court not to remand the accused persons in order to file the bail application.
But in his ruling, the Magistrate, O.R Yakubu, ordered that the accused persons be remanded in police custody and adjourned the case till July 18, 2022, for the Director, Public Prosecution, to advise the court on the remand application.