Pastor writes minister, alleges inhumane treatment in South African prison
Embattled South African-based Nigerian pastor, Revd. Timothy Omotosho, who was last month charged with human trafficking for allegedly molesting more than 30 girls, has written to the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Khadija Bukar Abba Ibrahim, alleging inhumane treatment meted out to him by the South African government.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian and signed by his lawyer, Samson Newton, Omotosho said he has been denied basic comfort in custody while being subjected to torture and psychological punishments.
Excerpts of the letter read: “They made him sleep on the bare floor without a mattress with the cold temperature. Attempts made by the family to give him a blanket just to give him the barest comfort were refused by the prison officials. He has also been denied access to his lawyers and visits from his family.
“This is coming after the respected preacher, who has spent decades in the country, was arrested in commando style by the South African police force and swooped on like a terrorist, fugitive and someone running from the law on April 21, 2017 at Port Elizabeth airport. We wonder why he is subjected to such inhumane treatment when the age-long principle of law is that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”
The lawyer, who likened the plight of Omotosho to the vestige of recent xenophobic attacks against successful Nigerians in South Africa, urged the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to persuade on her South African counterpart in the bid to protect the rights and life of every Nigerian citizens, including those facing trial.
Omotosho, aged 58 and the senior pastor of the Jesus Dominion International Ministry, based in Durban, will be appearing before the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.