Paul Oyewole, an Ondo-based cleric, has been dragged before a Magistrates Court, sitting in Ondo town, for allegedly faking his obituary to avoid payment of debt.
Mr Oyewole was arraigned on Thursday before Magistrate Mosunmola Ikujuni, after he allegedly published and posted his own death on social media to avoid payment of N3 million owed his church member.
The cleric, who was docked by the court was alleged of fraudulently obtaining the huge sum from Boyede Emmanuel, his church member, claiming to pay back the money within seven days.
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Speaking when the case came up for mention, Akao Moremi, police prosecutor told the court that Mr Oyewole defaulted in paying the debt despite his repeated promises.
Mr Akao said the clergyman falsely published and posted his obituary on WhatsApp after he sent a fake alert – knowing fully that he did not have such an amount in his bank account.
“He (Oyewole) also threatened the complainant on phone, with the intent to intimidate him and conducted himself in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace, by stripping himself naked in front of the complainant’s house,” the police prosecutor further told the Magistrate.
He said the cleric committed the offence between November 25, 2021, and May 7, 2022, along the Valentino area in Ondo.
According to him, the offence was contrary to and punishable under Sections 419, 86, and 125A(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.
Mr Oyewole pleaded not guilty to the charges when the charges were preferred against him before the court.
The police prosecutor told the magistrates’ to allow him to bring four witnesses to testify in the case.
He later applied for a date to enable him to study the case file properly.
A counsel to the cleric, Queen Arokoyo, pleaded to the court to grant her client bail in liberal terms, promising that he would not run away or jump the grace if granted.
The Presiding magistrate, Mrs Ikujuni, however, granted the cleric a bail of N1 million with two sureties each in like sum.
She noted that one of the sureties must have a landed property, residing within the jurisdiction, stressing that the original and photocopies of the identification card must be attached.
She adjourned the case till February 13, 2023, for further hearing.