There was panic at Matogun, in the Lambe area of Ogun State on Tuesday after the police recovered corpses of two missing pupils from a church in the community, Christ Crusaders’ Deliverance Ministry.
The deceased – six-year-old Isaac Ayegbo, a primary 2 pupil, and Ayomide Innocent, 4, who was in Nursery 1 – were reportedly found inside the church’s vehicle after they were declared missing on Sunday. The deceased’s parents are neigbours.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Ayomide’s mother, while travelling to the Republic of Benin on Friday, brought him to Isaac’s mother to look after him.
Our correspondent learnt that the children, after taking their lunch on Sunday, were playing outside Ayegbos’ residence, which was opposite the church, when they went missing.
Isaac’s father, Abiodun Ayegbo, was said to have reported the duo’s disappearance at the Agbado Police Division on the same day, but he was told to come back after 24 hours, which he did.
He said, “Ayomide was my friend’s son and he was brought to my wife when his mother travelled.
“She did not take him along because of his school because she would spend about six months there. They (Isaac and Ayomide) came back with my wife from church on Sunday and she gave them food.
“After eating, they went playing around the house. It was my grandmother who raised the alarm when she did not see them. I was told on the telephone to come home when they could not be found.
“I was called this morning (Tuesday) from the station and on getting there, the policemen took me to Christ Crusaders’ Deliverance Ministry, where their corpses were recovered.”
Our correspondent learnt that an angry mob would have set the church ablaze, but for the intervention of armed policemen deployed in the area.
Abiodun’s brother, Kunle Ayegbo, said he found the slippers Isaac wore on the day he went missing inside a car on the church premises, adding that about eight pairs of sandals were also found inside a bus, where their corpses were recovered.
He said the discovery made him sense that something had gone amiss and urged the police to thoroughly investigate the matter to unravel those responsible for the dastardly act.
“The police initially wanted to change the fact that the children were found dead on the church premises, but we stood our grounds. I took some pictures in the church but we were not allowed to take the picture of the children. I found Isaac’s slippers inside a car and about eight other sandals in a bus. I suspect foul play and want this case to be properly investigated and the culprits brought to book.
“Some boys in the community nearly set the church on fire. The policemen and I had to calm them down. We want justice on this matter,” he said.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Ayomide’s father, Nouanti Innocent, passed out when the news of his son’s death was broken to him and he had yet to regain consciousness as of Tuesday evening. His wife had yet to be informed of the incident.
A pastor at the headquarters of the church in the Akute area of the state, Mr. Yemi Adebisi, who spoke on behalf of the church, said the incident was still a mystery as there were guards manning the premises around the clock.
He said the remains of the children were discovered by some members of the church who wanted to sleep inside the bus before the commencement of a vigil.
He said, “The corpses were discovered around 11pm when some church members wanted to sleep inside the bus. We are having a five-day vigil. They alerted the pastor and he called me immediately. We have reported the matter to the police. The vehicle where the corpses were found belongs to the church and it has been out of order for years. People usually sleep inside it.
“There are guards who man the place all day and all night. I can’t understand the mystery surrounding it. It was a strange occurrence and it has destabilised everybody. It is a major challenge to the church.”
The Ogun State Police spokesperson, DSP Muyiwa Adejobi, said the pastor of the church, Babatunde Olakunle, and a church worker, Adewale Babalola, had been arrested.
He said, “We recovered two corpses on the church premises and had been deposited in a mortuary for autopsy.
“We have commenced our investigation. The pastor of the church and a church worker were arrested.”