Some members of Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Akure, Ondo State have kicked against the life imprisonment passed on the founder of the Church, Prophet Alfa Babatunde, by the state High Court.
Earlier this month, the court found Babatunde guilty over the disappearance of a toddler, Gold Eniola Kolawole, in his church last November, alongside five other members of the church.
The other five members who received life sentence include, Omodara Olayinka, Margaret Oyebola, Grace Ogunjobi, Egunjobi Motunrayo, Esther Kayode, and Anjorin Gbenga.
On Wednesday, during a visit by SaharaReporters to the church, some members of the church said they were ready to appeal the judgement.
Two of the church members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that effort was being made by some elders of the church to challenge the case and judgment at an upper court.
“So, why would he be accused of kidnapping a child for fetish means?” a member of the church who did not want to be named said. “It is the reason we are appealing the case in a court.”
Another member of the church said that Babatunde was being persecuted by those who hated him for speaking the truth.
“The judgment was one-sided because the father of the boy was accused of knowing the whereabouts of the child, yet the court says nothing about this,” he said. “So, we wonder how the judge came about with his judgment even when the missing child has not been found.
“We know God will do justice to the judgment in due time, but we are still going to meet in the court on the case.”
Babatunde’s church was set on fire by the locals last November following the allegation that he used the toddler for ritual.
Residents close to the church told SaharaReporters that activities had stopped in the premises since the building was razed down.
The once-popular church is now deserted as pests and rodents have taken over its open premises.
The vehicles that were burnt when the church was attacked were still at the location.
A woman, who owns a three-bedroom flat close to the church and former member of the Sotitobire church, Abiola Fadipe, said she and her family had started attending a new mission church since the former was set ablaze.
“For some of us, the ministry has ended because we cannot even say it openly anywhere that we are still members of the Sotitobire church,” she said. “And as for me, I have started attending the Mountain of Fire Miracle Church that is down the street since the incident occurred. I can’t say because the pastor is jailed, I would no longer attend any church for prayers.”
Babatunde’s wife, Abisola Alfa, did not respond to request for comment. Other family members who were contacted by SaharaReporters refused to talk about the judgment.