A pastor, John Abiodun, and a university lecturer, Dr Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, have appeared before the Ondo State High Court, Akure, for allegedly spreading fake news about the founder of a church, the Promised Land Prophetic Ministry, Akure, Pastor Gbenga Akinbiyi.
Abiodun and Olu-Adeyemi were said to be members of the church before things fell apart between them and the founder.
The defendants were alleged to be spreading fake news on the social media that the church and its founder, Akinbiyi, as well as other members allegedly buried a placenta and a newborn baby in the altar.
The defendants were said to have petitioned the police on the allegation, but in the course of investigation, a team of policemen reportedly went into the church and dug up the altar but found nothing buried there.
The defendants were arraigned on seven counts bordering on conspiracy, publication of fake news, perjury, impersonation and threatening violence.
The charges read in part, “That you, John Abiodun and Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, on or about January 13, 2019, around 9am at Akure in the Akure Judicial Division, conspired together to publish life-threatening and inciting stories about one Ajidahun Emmanuel Jeminiyi, which is punishable under Section 59 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.
“That you, John Abiodun and Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, on or about January 13, 2019, around 9am in Akure, in the Akure Judicial Division, did publish on different WhatsApp platforms falsehood against Ajidahun Jeminiyi, punishable under Section 117 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State, 2006.
“That you, John Abiodun, on or about June 24, 2019, around 1pm at the High Court Registry, Akure, deposed to an affidavit of oath against one Pastor Gbenga Akinbiyi and the Promised Land Prophetic Ministry, knowing that the depositions were false. This is punishable under Section 484 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State.
“That you, John Abiodun, on or about January 13, 2019, in Akure, through various social media platforms with a mobile number 09061720016 under the user name, Fausat Seekers, threatened to deal with one Ajidahun Jeminiyi and his family, which amounts to threatening violence and is punishable under Section 86 of the criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State 2006.”
The prosecutor, Bose Tunde-Alarape, informed the court that it had been difficult to serve the second defendant, Olu-Adeyemi, with the notice on motion.
Justice Olabode Adegbehingbe urged the counsel and all parties involved in the matter to make the process of service and appearance in court prompt and of importance.
Justice Adegbehingbe ordered that the second defendant be properly served with the court order and adjourned the case till January 30 and February 3, 18, 24 and 26, 2020, for the hearing.