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BY Francis Akhalbey, 10:00am December 19, 2019,

Mob set ablaze Nigerian church over rumors of missing baby buried under its pulpit

Sotitobire Miracle Church in Ondo State, Nigeria, was burned down by an irate youth over a missing toddler

A widely known miracle church in Ondo State, Nigeria, was torched by an angry mob on Wednesday over the alleged kidnap and murder of a one-year-old baby by its pastor.

According to Premium Times, pastor Alfa Babatunde of Sotitobire Miracle Church in Akure was arrested by the State Security Service over the kidnapping allegations on November 10. However, rumors that swirled of the toddler’s body being found and exhumed from the church’s pulpit incited an irate mob to march to the church and set it alight.

Some members of the church, who were having a service at the time of the ambush had to flee for their lives. Scores of people, including worshippers, journalists and police officers who reported to the scene at the time of the attack reportedly got injured.

The spokesperson for Ondo State Police Command, Femi Joseph, in a statement, however, refuted the rumors of the baby’s body being found in the church and called for calm.

“The Ondo State Police Command wishes to inform the general public particularly the People of Ondo State that they should disregard the rumours making the rounds that the body of a recently declared missing boy in the state has been exhumed from Sotitobire church in Akure,” Joesph said, according to The Cable.

“It is most unfortunate that this misleading information spearheaded by a popular TV station, has ignited a spontaneous reaction from the people leading to wanton destruction of properties and injuries to many.

“The church building was also set ablaze by irate youths. Some of our officers dispatched to the scene to contain the situation were pelted with stones with many of them sustaining injuries.

“Their patrol vehicle was also badly damaged. This rejoinder became necessary to disabuse the minds of many Nigerians who might have fallen for this wicked lies and propaganda.

“The public should also not be hoodwinked by reports that the command has abandoned the investigation of the incident, as the case file is already on the way to the DPP for legal advice.”

The toddler reportedly went missing during a church service. He was last seen at the children’s department on the said day. The Cable reports that his mother suspects foul play.

Efforts by the police to find him have so far been futile.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: December 19, 2019


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