A magistrates’ court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, has ordered the remand of five pastors of the Whole Bible Believer Church, Ondo for alleged kidnapping.
The defendants are; David Anifowose, 64, Josiah Peter, 49, Stephen Olawole, 51, Blessing John, 60 and Gbenga Ayembo, 56.
The state police command earlier arrested the defendants for allegedly keeping 77 people in the basement of the church.
The members were said to be waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ on the instruction of the Assistant Pastor, Peter Josiah and the victims stopped schooling, and working and made the church their abode after abandoning their homes.
They were arraigned on 10 counts bordering on kidnapping and unlawful harbouring. They however pleaded not guilty to the charge.
During the arraignment, the police prosecutor, Augustine Omhenimhen, told the court that the pastors conspired to commit a felony, adding that the defendants unlawfully imprisoned the children of one Elizabeth Reuben and prevented their parents from having access to them.
He said the offence contravened and was punishable under Sections 225, 361, 364 (2), 365, 365(2), 516 of the Criminal Code Cap, 37. Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.
However, the defence counsel, Oladele Ayoola, prayed the court not to remand the accused persons to file the bail application
But in his ruling, the Magistrate, O.R Yakubu, ordered that the accused persons be remanded in police custody and adjourned the case till July 18, 2022, for the Director Public Prosecution to advise the court on the remand application.
NigeriaCrime had reported how over 50 children, as well as other people, were rescued from an underground basement.
It was gathered that these people had been “brainwashed”.