Nigeria

Court grants popular Celestial pastor Israel Ogundipe bail

The Lagos State High Court has imprisoned a popular prophet in the state, Israel Ogundipe also known as Genesis.

A court of appeal sitting in Lagos state has granted post-conviction bail to Israel Ogundipe, shepherd-in-charge of Celestial Church of Christ, Global Genesis Parish, Lagos.

Recall that a Lagos state high court had convicted Ogundipe for defrauding Olaide Williams-Oni, a UK-based woman, of N17 million.

Before the conviction, the pastor had been on trial since 2011, over seven counts of obtaining by stealing, inducing delivery of money by false pretence, unlawful conversion of property, and forgery.

He was convicted on two counts and sentenced to one year imprisonment.

But Ogundipe had gone back to court seeking to be released on bail, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal of his sentence. The clergyman had hinged his appeal on ill-health.

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Olabisi Akinlade, judge of the Ikeja high court, dismissed the application bail and ordered the pastor to continue serving his sentence at the Kirikiri correctional centre.

Not satisfied with the court’s decision, Ogundipe, through his lawyer, Babatunde Ogala, asked the court of appeal to overrule the high court and grant him bail.

Ogala submitted that his client is diabetic and could no longer follow a strict diet and the constant specialised medical attention in prison custody.

He said Ogundipe’s health has greatly deteriorated making him “gaunt in appearance”.

Delivering the ruling, Abdullahi Bayero who spoke on behalf of a three-man panel of justices, said: “There are criteria for granting a convict bail. These include that the applicant must be a first time offender or have a serious health condition.”

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“The applicant seeking bail pending appeal before the court is a first-time offender, and he has also shown to the court that he is having hypertension, peptic ulcer, unending malaria and diabetes, which are serious health conditions,” Bayero held.

“He is consequently admitted to bail in the sum of N2 million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must have landed property on Lagos Island with the original certificate of occupancy from the Lagos state government.

“The sureties are to deposit these documents along with their passport photographs with the deputy registrar of the court of appeal.”

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