‘RCCG pastor found stabbed, coughing blood’

A Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square Tuesday heard that a Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) pastor, Babatunde Dada, was found coughing blood after being stabbed and robbed allegedly by two teenagers that he helped off the streets and gave accommodation after getting them a job.

The teens, Farouk Mohammed, 16, and Kasali Jamiu, 19, said to be new converts to Christianity at the church branch in Festac where the pastor worked, are standing trial for the December 2, 2021 murder of Dada, 46, before Justice Sherifat Sonaike.

Mohammed and Jamiu were remanded following their arraignment before the judge by the Lagos State Government.

The duo was first charged on January 12, 2022 before a Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court alongside two others, Mumuni Toheeb, 21, and Mubarak Soliu, 20, for allegedly receiving a Spark S Techno phone valued at N60,000, property of the deceased.

At the resumption of proceedings, the deceased’s younger brother, Michael Dada, was led in evidence before the court by the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martins.

The witness, who affirmed that Dada was a pastor at RCCG Resurrection Chapel on 6th Avenue, Festac Town, Lagos, narrated how his brother was found after the stabbing.

“On the 2nd of December 2021, I received a call from my younger sister, Oluwakemi Dada who lived with my deceased brother. She was screaming on the phone, that my brother was lying in a pool of blood in the church.

“Before getting to the church, she called me back that my brother had been taken to Navy Town Hospital where they took the body. There I found him already confirmed dead,” Michael said.

When he asked his sister what happened, “she told me that there were two strange boys working with them whom the church had accommodated.

“According to her, when she interrogated my deceased brother about them, he said they were new converts and the church had accommodated them on the church premises. He said he didn’t want the two boys to be stranded or roaming around the church premises so decided to engage them in his laundry business.

“The boys started working with him and were going to be paid. According to my sister Oluwakemi, on that fateful day, my deceased brother told her and the other laundry workers he was going to the bank and that he would be back.

“She said when he came back, he went upstairs in the church to go and rest. After a while, she wondered why he had not come down after resting for quite sometime. One of the laundry workers went upstairs to pick a cloth to wash. On getting there, he screamed. I asked my sister why they were not listening. They said the generator was on.

“The worker screamed and called the rest. They all met the pastor in a pool of blood and he was coughing up blood. They noticed that the two strange boys, Farouk and Jamiu were not there.”

Michael said he asked about the deceased’s phone but it was nowhere to be found and some of the deceased’s belongings.

“I quickly got in contact with the pastor in charge, he continued by then the news had spread. Later in the day, the pastor in charge and his wife came to confirm his body at the Navy Town Hospital. The matter was reported to Festac Police Station.”

During cross examination, the first defendant’s counsel, Mr Oyekanmi Isijola, asked the witness how he got to know about the incident. The witness said the incident was relayed to him by his sister, that he didn’t witness it.

Counsel to the second defendant, Mr. Spurgeon Ataene asked if the witness, if knew when the defendants were engaged to work in the laundry service of the church.

“I do not know, I am only aware of the incident of December 2nd and it was communicated to me by my sister,” the witness said.

The court could not proceed with the second witness, Inspector Daniel Olumuyiwa, because his name was not listed on the list of witnesses.

Justice Shonaike adjourned till December 12, 2022 for hearing of the defendants’ bail applications and January 10, 2023 for continuation of trial.

The defendants were arraigned on four counts bordering on conspiracy to murder, murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery.

Dr. Martins told the court that the defendants conspired and allegedly killed Dada on December 2, 2021, around noon at the RCCG, Road 13, 6th Avenue, Festac area of Lagos.

He said they killed the deceased by hitting him on the head with a wooden plank and a bottle.

The prosecutor also told the court that the duo robbed the deceased of his bag and a mobile phone.

The defendants pleaded not guilty.

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