An Ifo Magistrates’ Court sitting at Ifo, Ogun State, on Thursday remanded the founder of Holy Garden Ministry Zion C and S Church, Tobiloba Ipense, for allegedly killing his lover, Raliat Sanni, and burying her remains near the church’s altar.
The Magistrate, Mr. S.M. Banwo, ordered that he be remanded pending the release of legal advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions.
PUNCH Metro had reported that Ipense and Sanni, a divorcee and mother of five children, were secret lovers.
Sanni had been reported missing by her brother, Adebola Saheed, after she left for the suspect’s church on March 21 and did not return home.
Operatives at the Ewekoro Police Division were said to have arrested the cleric on March 26 and interrogated him.
The cleric allegedly confessed to killing the victim and burying her in his church after cutting off her head and two hands.
Detectives, led by the state Commissioner of Police, Ahmed Iliyasu, visited the church at Papalanto, in the Ewekoro Local Government Area of the state, where the remains of the victim were exhumed in one of the rooms close to the church altar.
Ipense, who denied killing Sanni, said a co-pastor, David Sopeju, of Iyana Egbado, was responsible for her death.
Sopeju, who admitted that they all belonged to white garment churches’ association, denied involvement in the murder.
The police on Thursday arraigned Ipense and a woman, Oluwakemi Ishola, on three counts of murder and possession of human parts.
Our correspondent gathered that Ishola introduced the deceased to the cleric.
The charges read in part, “That you, Tobiloba Ipense, Oluwakemi Ishola and others now at large, on March 21, 2018, around 11.30pm, at Elebute village, via Itori, in the Ifo Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony, to wit: murder.
“That you, Tobiloba Ipense, and others now at large, did kill one Raliat Sanni, by slaughtering her and cutting off her head and two arms.
“That you, Tobiloba Ipense, and others now at large on March 27, 2018, around 7.30am, were found in possession of a human head and two arms of Raliat Sanni, inside the church, Holy Garden Ministry Zion C and S Church.”
The police prosecutor, Corporal S. Olayiwola, said the offences were punishable under sections 324, 319 and 328 of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State, Nigeria 2006.
The defendants’ pleas were not taken for the offences, which are capital in nature.
While there was no legal representation for Ipense, a counsel, I.K. Subair, appeared for the female defendant.
Subair applied for the bail of the second accused in liberal terms.
Ishola was admitted to bail in the sum of N2.5m with two sureties each in like sum.
The senior magistrate added that while one of the sureties must be a landed property owner within the jurisdiction of the court, both of them must depose to affidavit of means, present evidence of tax payments to the state government, and their house addresses should be verified by an assigned officer of the court.
Ipense was ordered to be remanded in the Oba Prison pending the release of DPP advice.
The case was adjourned till July 27, 2018 for legal advice.