Thursday, January 19, 2012

Occult church members arraigned

Twenty-three members of the Millenium Gospel Mission, a church where human skulls and other vital parts of human body were discovered in Osogbo last Wednesday were yesterday arraigned in an Osogbo Magistrate Court for alleged conspiracy and breach of public peace.

The accused persons, including a septuagenarian, were said to have, on January 11, 2012, at Oremeji Street, Alekuwodo area, Osogbo, conspired with one another to commit misdemeanor and caused insult to Christian religion in public by urinating on a N20 note, an act which the court described as fetish.

Police prosecutor, Sergeant Elisha Olusegun told the court that the accused persons were referring to one late Jacob Oladele as Jesus Christ and also conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by using drums to call people in the area to buy pap, describing the activities of the church as unlawful.

According to Olusegun, the accused persons committed offences contrary to and punishable under Sections 516, 204 and 249 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 34, Vol. II, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2003.
But the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the allegations levelled against them, saying their acts were orderly and did not affect the general public negatively.

Counsel to the accused persons, Mr. Bola Ige made attempt to move an oral bail application but the presiding Magistrate, Mr. Olusola Aluko ordered him to file a formal bail application. Ige, however, called the attention of the court to one of the accused persons, Jumoke Oladele, who is nursing a baby and pleaded with the court to admit the nursing mother to bail. He also urged the court to remand his clients in the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) office instead of the prison custody.

But the prosecutor opposed the application, saying the CID had only two cells, which were already congested, arguing that the police had to vacate two offices to accommodate the accused persons for a week. The magistrate said, “in law, there is a principle of equality and in case where one is given a special treatment, the essence of justice has been defeated. They must be treated equally.”

He therefore ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Ilesa Prison custody and adjourned the case till February 29 for mention.