DSS Behind Burning of Sotitobire Church – Church lawyer
By Olamide Fadoju
Lawyer for Sotitobire Praising Chapel, Ondo State, Akinyemi Omoware has accused the Department Of State Security Service (DSS) of fueling rumours that led to the burning of the church on December 18.
Angry youths on Wednesday burnt the church located in the state capital, Akure, following protest over a one-year-old boy, Gold Kolawole who reportedly went missing in the church premises November.
This consequently led to the arrest of the church founder, Pastor Alfa Babatunde on December 10 by the DSS.
Omoware while speaking to Sheriff Quadri and Wemimo Adewuni on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM Programme, Morning Crossfire, alleged that the DSS who are yet to officially charge his client, sparked the rumour that mobilized the youths who razed the church down.
“With respect to the burndown of the church, it was a rumour orchestrated by the DSS. The rumour filtered into the town that the DSS confirmed that the prophet has confessed.
“The police have been investigating this matter for about one month, no house was burnt, no lives were lost, no property was damaged. Within one week of DSS investigation, keeping somebody in detention without access by counsel, partly access, without charging him for any offence and issuing false information to the public that led to the burndown of the church.
The lawyer also revealed that the DSS has been sued for violating the human rights of his client saying they had no business arresting him at first as it is a police matter.
Meanwhile, Police Public Relations Officer, Ondo State, CSP Femi Joseph told Nigeria Info that he had no explanation for Prophet Babatunde being held by the DSS, he, however, confirmed that police investigations are ongoing.
"I am not the DSS person, I don’t speak for the DSS all I know is that without prejudice to what the DSS may be doing to him. That does not foreclose our investigation, we are still going ahead with our investigation. So I think that question will be better answered by the DSS.
CSP Joseph also added that the state police was only told of the incident a day after prompting them to open investigations into the incident.
“I want to say that the very day that this incident happened, the parent of the missing child did not inform the police. It was the next day that the incident happened. Apparently the parents of the missing child were not satisfied with the way the church was handling the issue.
“They were alleged to have organized themselves to go and invade the church that they wanted to burn down the church, attack the pastor and all the people there. These prompted the leader of the church to come to the police station, one of our local police stations in the region, to report. We asked him what brought about the attack, he then narrated what happened to us. That was when we began our own investigation.”