Babatunde Samuel Alfa, founder of Sotitobire Miracle Centre, Akure, Ondo State, where a one-year-old boy was declared missing on November 10, 2019, has described the incident as "mysterious".
Alfa spoke on the incident for the first time during an exclusive interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday in Akure, the state capital.
He revealed that he was ministering in the church when he was notified about the missing child named Eniola Kolawole.
Mother of the child, Modupe Kolawole, had disclosed that she dropped him at the creche of the church and even registered him as no 87 on the lists while service was going on that Sunday morning.
The young mother also claimed that she noticed a strange person in the children section attending to her son and might be the one to have made away with her boy.
Modupe and her husband are said to have joined the church in June 2019 and it was the first time their child would be kept at the children’s section of the place.
Absolving himself of any blame in the whole saga, Alfa accused parents of the missing child of blackmailing and tarnishing the image of his church.
He disclosed that while he had been praying and fasting for the quick return of the missing child, Modupe and her husband have refused to join him.
He said, “This type of incident has never happened in my church and it still feels like a mystery to me. It will be the first of such incident in the history of my calling as a man of God.
“Truly, the incident occurred on Sunday. I was ministering on the altar during the service and an usher in the church brought the matter to my attention.
“Most times, we put canopies outside for those coming late to church on Sundays so that they can have somewhere to sit and be protected from the sun. We also have security personnel protecting the vicinity of the church.
“So, I didn't leave the altar that day not until after 5:00pm.
“Shortly afterwards, I met with the parents of the missing child who briefed me about the entire incident.
“We began searching the entire place and I told them to visit the police station and make a formal complaint.
“They went to the police station but were directed to come back the next day but they failed to go there.
“I began calling them to know their next move but they did to pick my calls on three occasions and my lawyer could even bear me the witness.
“Anytime I call them to come, they never show up and the case has already become a big issue because the government is even aware of the incident and they have interest in ensuring the missing child is found.
“I feel that while the police and the other security agencies are doing their job, we too in the church need to be praying for the safe rescue of the child but the parents refused to show up.
“Rather, they are going about blackmailing and tarnishing the name of my church.
“The parents claimed that I am not showing concern but that is a lie. I had been invited by the Deji of Akure and police for interrogation over this matter.
“All I know is that whoever is behind this would not go free.”
Last Sunday, some women marched in front of the Akure church in solidarity with Alfa while also hurling curses on the parents of the missing child.
Ondo State Police Public Relations Officer, Femi Joseph, told SaharaReporters that they were on the case with a view to unravelling the mystery surrounding the child’s sudden disappearance in the church.
He said, “The command has since launched an investigation into the unfortunate incident and we are not relenting in ensuring the boy is returned healthy and alive.
“We urge anyone with useful information that could lead the police to where the boy could be found or rescued to quickly inform the nearest police station.
“They can also call any of the following phone numbers including 07068370450, 07034313903, 080 32905251, 0806015 9998.”