Sunday, 24 July 2016

‘I Don’t Want To Go Back To My Father, Nobody Gave Me Food’ - 9-Year-Old Boy Chained by Pastor Father Speaks

A nine-year-old boy, Korede Taiwo, who was chained by his father for months, has narrated his heart-rending experience to SUNDAY PUNCH. Korede’s father, Francis Taiwo, was said to be the pastor in charge of Key of Joy Celestial Church of Christ, Ajibawo area in Atan Ota, Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

The boy told our correspondent that he would not want to live with his father and step-mother again.

He said, ‘‘I was not fed regularly when I was chained. My father and my step-mother only fed me twice a day. Some days, I was not given any food. I want to go back to school because I want to be a doctor in the future. I also do not want to go back to my father’s house.’’

The boy was rescued on Friday by men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps alongside officers from the Ogun State Command attached to the Onipanu Division, Ota, inside a room where his father, who is now on the run, chained him.

SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that the pastor’s neighbours alerted the security agents to the incident and they swung into action.

It was further gathered that Korede allegedly always stole and usually ran away from home.

These acts, SUNDAY PUNCH learnt, made his father to believe he was ‘possessed’ and he started chaining him since January in an attempt to cast out the supposed ‘spirit’ in him.

Sometime in May, Francis was said to have taken Korede to a river with the chain on his neck for a deliverance bath.

Speaking further, Korede admitted that he stole many times in the neighbourhood and also stole a pot of soup in his father’s house.

He said, ‘‘It is true that I stole a pot of soup and bowl of eba in our house. I also stole in the neighbourhood. My father’s inability to give money to my step-mother for the upkeep of the family caused it. But I promised not to go back to my old ways.’’

He also told our correspondent that he no longer attended any school because he was caught trying to steal from a food vendor in school.

Korede added that he was a pupil in Onse Community Primary School near Ajibawo, before he was withdrawn recently.

‘‘I still want to return to school. I want to be a medical doctor, ’’ he said.

Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH, Korede’s step-mother, identified as Kehinde, who is nursing a two-month-old baby, said she had warned her husband many times to desist from the nature of discipline he was meting out to Korede.

She said, “I usually warned him concerning the way he chained Korede. I had reported him to his twin brother, Kehinde, who lives in Ota, and I also reported to a friend of his.

“When the two talked to him, he would relax a bit, but as soon as they left, he would return to his old ways.”

She stated that she did not know the whereabouts of her husband, adding that they were both from the Republic of Benin.

“We got married three years ago but I learnt that he was once married to a woman from Benin, Edo State. The woman,I was told, bore him four children- two boys and two girls. I only saw the woman in a picture, I have never met her physically. She was said to have left nine years ago, shortly after she gave birth to Korede,” she added.

According to her, she has never maltreated Korede in any way. She said, “All I have been doing is to beg him to stop stealing, as such act does not portray the family in good light.”

The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Muyiwa Adejobi, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the police had launched a manhunt for the fleeing pastor, adding that the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 2 Command, Abdulmajid Ali, had taken over the matter.

He said, “The police operatives of the command attached to the Onipanu Division rescued Korede from where he was chained on the neck to a heavy log of wood in a room by his biological father, Pastor Francis Taiwo, for more than a month.

“The stepmother of Korede, Kehinde, who has been arrested by the police, revealed that Korede’s father’s cruel act was connected with the habit of stealing exhibited by Korede.

“The Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of zone 2 Command, Lagos, who is presently on the ground in Ogun State,  Abdulmajid Ali, has condemned the pastor’s criminal and inhuman act and directed that the matter be properly handled, while the fleeing pastor be apprehended without delay.

“The AIG has ordered that the young boy be given proper medical attention. He will soon be handed over to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in Ogun State for necessary action.”

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