Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
There was tension in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday as an irate mob allegedly set a church ablaze and killed two persons including a policeman.
The mob was said to have attacked a church identified as Sotitobire over allegation that the founder kidnapped a one-year-old baby and allegedly buried same inside the church.
The church known as Sotitobire, located on the outskirt of the town had since last month been enmeshed in trouble over alleged abduction of a one-year-old baby during a programme in the church.
The founder of the church was fingered and had since been invited by the state police command for interrogation.
The parents of the missing baby had continued to express worry over the incident, even as they raised the alarm over the way the state police command handled the matter.
It was learnt that the parent of the missing baby had also petitioned the Force Headquarters over the development.
Trouble started in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 18, 2019, when some irate youths bombarded the church and called for the arrest of the church founder.
The mob numbering over 100 converged on the church premises and later set it ablaze despite efforts made to curtail them by the police at the scene of the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the state police command, Mr Femi Joseph, who confirmed the incident, said a police officer and a hoodlum were killed during the attack.
He said: “Ondo State Police Command wishes to inform the 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 had been exhumed from Sotitobire Church in Akure.
“It is most unfortunate that this misleading information spearheaded by a popular TV station, had ignited spontaneous reactions 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 despatched 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 these 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,” he added.