A 54-year-old man, Babatunde Abbas, has narrated how he languished in prison for seven years for a crime he claimed he did not commit.
Abbas spoke on Tuesday during the third edition of the 2022 Prison and Hospital Ministry Conference of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, tagged, ‘Fresh Air for Freedom.’
The event was held at the Redemption Camp, Mowe, Ogun State.
Abbas recalled that in 2015, he broke the side mirror of a car owned by a policeman, who took him to a police station, where he was allegedly tortured to confess to a crime he did not commit.
He said he was later charged to court and remanded in the Oba Custodial Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said, “I was tortured by SARS men, who shot my leg about five times to force me to confess to armed robbery. I and another person were charged to court without a lawyer to defend us. The complainant never showed up and the prosecuting counsel, Mrs Aroleba, brought in SARS men to testify as witnesses against us.
“While in prison, an RCCG team brought in Barrister Tope Akingbogun to stand in for us in 2017. They kept taking us to court before Justice Akinyemi at High Court 4. He (Akinyemi) identified me at a particular sitting and asked why my case was taking long and I begged the judge to specifically request that the complainant be summoned to court as only he could testify if I committed the crime.
“He (complainant) finally appeared in court and the judge asked what I stole from him and he confirmed to the judge that I stole nothing. On January 14, 2022, Justice Akinyemi struck out the charge levelled against me and declared my freedom from prison. There are many people in Oba prison, particularly two siblings, Seye and Seun Ogunbayo, who are still awaiting trial for 14 years.”
The National Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor Joseph Obayemi, said whenever the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, visited prisons, he usually engaged the authorities on the cases of innocent inmates.
“Part of the good work is for the government to decongest prisons and make them more receptive and conducive for prisoners as it is being done abroad. There are many innocent souls even without case files languishing for years in prisons; they can also be released by the government,” he added.
The National Chairman, RCCG Prison and Hospital Ministry, Pastor Ariyo Popoola, said the church would continue its outreaches to inmates, hospitals, old people and remand homes with the donation of food and gift items.
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