MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Bello Usman
The Pastor in charge of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Deliverance Parish, Akure, Gbenga Filani was on Tuesday arraigned before a magistrate court in Akure, the Ondo State capital for allegedly raping a 19-year-old pregnant member of the church.
The Police had last week arrested the pastor who is also a freelance broadcaster over the alleged rape of the pregnant lady who had gone to his church for deliverance.
Police Prosecutor, Mr Nelson Akintimehin, accused the pastor of two-count charge bordering on rape and assault.
Filani was said to have committed the offence on December 8, 2021 at about 3:43pm at Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Deliverance Parish, No 1, Owuye Close, Fabunmi Avenue, Oda Road Akure.
The charge sheet brought to the court by the police prosecutor reads “That you Gbenga Filani on the 8th December, 2021 at about 3:43pm at Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Deliverance Parish, No 1, Owuye Close, Fabunmi Avenue, Oda Road Akure in the Akure Magisterial District, did unlawfully had canal knowledge of one Ojo Bukola aged 19 years without her consent under the pretence of spiritual healing and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 357 and punishable under section 358 of the criminal code cap 37, vol 1 laws of Ondo State of Nigeria 2006.
“That you Gbenga Filani, on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District, did unlawfully and indecently assault one Ojo Bukola by touching her private part against her wish and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 360 of the criminal code cap 37, vol 1, laws of Ondo state of Nigeria 2006.”
The police prosecutor said the offences were punishable under Sections 358 and 360 of the criminal code cap 37, Vol. 1 laws of Ondo state of Nigeria 2006.
Akintimehin, however, urged the court to remand the accused person pending legal advice of the Department of Public Prosecution.
But the counsel to the accused, Adelanke Akinrata asked the court to grant his client bail pending the legal advice from the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).
Akinrata argued that there was no evidence before the court to link the accused with the alleged offence committed.
The Presiding Magistrate, Damilola Sekoni however granted bail to Filani in the sum of N500,000 and two sureties in like sum. He said the sureties must depose to affidavit of means.
Magistrate Sekoni added that the sureties must have landed properties in the jurisdiction of the court.
He thereafter adjourned the case to January 14 for hearing.