An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, on Thursday sentenced a pastor, John Abiodun, to two years imprisonment for false allegation against a church founder.
Abiodun was arrested in 2019 for lying against the founder of Promiseland Prophetic Ministry, Akure, Pastor Gbenga Akinbiyi, that seven placentas were planted on the church’s altar.
The convict, who was a former member of the church, swore an affidavit before the commissioner for oaths on the matter.
Abiodun and a lecturer at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Prof. Lanre Olu-Adeyemi, were later arraigned on eight counts, bordering on conspiracy, publication of false information, perjury, impersonation, threatening violence, among others.
The second defendant, Olu-Adeyemi, was the admin of a WhatsApp group on which allegation was published.
During the court proceedings, witnesses were called by both the prosecuting and defence counsel.
The trial judge, Justice Bode Adegbehingbe, found Abiodun guilty on count five of the charges against him.
He said the convict contradicted himself while giving evidence on the allegations against him, which included the use of different church WhatsApp platforms and other social media to malign, carry out false publication and wrongly accuse the founder of the church.
The court said Abiodun was guilty of perjury, an offence punishable under Section 118 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ondo State.
The judge also held that in law, anybody found guilty of perjury was liable to life or 14 years imprisonment, adding that due to the plea by the defence counsel, Mr Olanrewaju Adesanmi, he would reduce the jail term to two years.
“The first defendant is hereby sentenced to two years imprisonment,” the judge held.
The second defendant was discharged and acquitted as the court said the investigation conducted by the police on his involvement in the matter was shoddy.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Kayode Dare, expressed satisfaction with the judgement, saying the court had vindicated Akinbiyi and other members of his church.