5 February 2013

Nigeria: Okotie Fails to Appear Before Lagos Court

The head of the Household of God Church International, Chris Okotie, on Tuesday, failed to appear before an Ikeja Magistrate Court.

In an ongoing matter in which Mr. Okotie accused Dafiaghor Okiotor, a former keyboardist in his church, of "despicable and criminal acts of blackmail, threats, intimidation and forgery to extort N39 million" from him; the flamboyant pastor urged the police to prosecute Mr. Okiotor.

Mr. Okiotor claims that he was only trying to recover the money owed him by the church after spending 14 years of his life playing the keyboard and producing music for Mr. Okotie.

Six witnesses, most of them workers at the Household of God Church, were billed to testify.

Mr. Okotie, however, was the only one absent in court, on Tuesday.

The magistrate stated that if there is a law that compels a witness to appear before a court, Mr. Okiotor's lawyer can resort to it.

Gag the defendant

Kola Dopamu, a counsel to Mr. Okotie, urged the magistrate to gag the defendant.

"There is a trend that is going on that we believe is inimical to justice," said Mr. Dopamu, holding a watching brief for Mr. Okotie.

"The issue we want to draw your attention to is the publication of falsehood via the social media and all sorts of media about Pastor Okotie.

"We just felt that it is indeed disrespectful to this court. The matter is before your honour," he added.

The magistrate ordered Mr. Okiotor to desist from talking about the case.

"You have to maintain the status quo. You are not permitted to take any further step until the court decides," the magistrate said.

"If you feel your right is infringed on, you can file a civil action," she added.

The matter was adjourned till February 15.

Copyright © 2013 Premium Times. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.