The Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has called for a thorough investigation into the missing one-year-old toddler abducted at Sotitobire Miracle Church in Akure over a month ago.
This is the governor’s first official reaction to the raging controversy over the missing child, Gold Kolawole, and the resultant burning of the church on Wednesday by a mob.
Mr Akeredolu said all stakeholders must come together to get to the root of the incident.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Segun Ajiboye, appealed for calm on the unfortunate loss of the child, as well as the incident at the church where one policeman and one civilian were killed.
“The Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN finds it imperative to appeal for calm on the unfortunate loss of a one-year-old child and the attendant crisis which occurred on Wednesday December 18, 2019,” the statement read.
“Mr Governor observed and personally noted the concern of the general public since the incident last month. This is even as pressures sufficed for Government to publicly make statements in respect of the missing child.
“The loss of the child in a Church, no doubt, remains heart-aching and represents a sad commentary.
“However, it is pertinent to state that the enormity of the incident could not have permitted a hasty rush to make public statements, especially when investigations had already commenced and daily briefs by the Commissioner of Police were received by the Governor.
“It is perhaps instructive to disclose that Mr Governor was being briefed in respect of the incident by other relevant security agencies, including the DSS until the unfortunate action which culminated in needless deaths and destruction of property.
“The Governor wished to state that an incident as troubling as the loss of a child requires a thorough investigation with the cooperation of all and sundry, including Government.
“Therefore, it will be preposterous for people to take laws into their hands and jeopardize a deep probe that could unravel the mystery.”
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Mr Akeredolu also enjoined the general public, especially those directly or indirectly affected, to be calm and cooperate with security agencies as they have heightened efforts to get to the root of the matter.
Meanwhile, the Deji of Akure, Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, has denied involvement in the episode surrounding the missing child and the mayhem which followed on Wednesday.
The palace was reacting to rumours that the monarch received huge sums of money to push for the release of the General Overseer of the church, Alfa Babatunde, who is currently being detained by the State Security Services.
Temitope, Gold and Modupe Kolawole during the happy times together
Mr Babatunde was picked up by the SSS following complaints by the parents of the missing child that the police were unwilling to professionally investigate the matter.
A statement by the palace’s spokesman, Adeyeye Michael, said the reaction was coming on the heels of the allegation of the Devil’s complicity.
“It is on record that the parents of the missing child had protested to the Deji’s Palace on Tuesday 12th November, 2019 seeking the intervention of the monarch,” the statement said.
“Undoubtedly, the Deji quickly intervened and constantly followed up on the case to ensure that justice is served by inviting the General Overseer of the Church, the Parents of the Child and the teachers at the children section.
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“The Deji equally urged the security agencies to carry out a thorough and discreet investigation in order to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the child and bring perpetrators to book.
“It is therefore unreasonable, illogical and a total falsehood to allege the monarch of complicity and attempt to pervert the course of justice.
“This is a blatant lie from the pit of hell and an attempt to denigrate the revered stool of the Deji.
“It is laughable and barbaric that some faceless individuals also claim that His Majesty received a huge sum of money to push for the release of the cleric and also compromise the investigators.
“This remains a figment of the imagination of whoever is behind the rumour. We challenge anyone with such evidence to provide it.
“We deeply frown at any attempt to bring the revered institution into disrepute by these rumour mongers for any reasons. We urge the good people of Akure kingdom and the general public to disregard such satanic rumour from these faceless and wicked individuals.
“The Kabiyesi will not in any way be part of any attempt to prevent the law from taking its due course. As a man who believes in justice and equity, he will not be involved in any shady dealings under any guise. It is therefore wrong for anyone to drag the Deji into such matter which is criminal in nature with the intent of disrupting investigation. This is malicious with no iota of truth.
“His Majesty is ever ready to support any move that will help to find the missing child, unravel the mystery and bring any person or group of persons involved to book.
“The palace wishes to enjoin the Security agencies to expedite action on their investigation in the search of the child, as our confidence is unshaken in their ability to do justice without fear or favour.
“We urge our people to refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations that could jeopardize the ongoing Investigation but only lead to unnecessary incitement.
“We are confident that evil cannot triumph over good and our heartfelt sympathy and prayer is with the family of the missing child.”
It will be recalled that the Sotitobire church was burnt down on Wednesday after rumours circulated that the child’s body was exhumed from the altar of the church.
It, however, turned out to be untrue, but two people were killed and many others injured in the fracas that ensued.