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COZA Pastor Rape Scandal: CAN, SERAP, others speak against rape, harassment

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COZA Pastor Rape Scandal: CAN, SERAP, others speak against rape, harassment

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Christain bodies, organizations, religious leaders, and notable public figures have lent their voices to speak against rape and harassment after news of rape allegation against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of The Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) by Busola Dakolo hit the internet.

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Mrs Dakolo, who is the wife of a popular Nigerian singer, Timi Dakolo, made the revelation during an interview with Chude Jideonwo, which was published on Friday by the channel, YNaija.

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Reacting to the saga, The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said it does not regulate how pastors operate their churches but condemned the act of rape, saying it doesn’t matter who is involved.

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It is ungodly, wicked, and reprehensible”, a statement issued on Sunday by Pastor Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media & Communications) to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr. Samson Ayokunle, said.

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It, however, stated that regarding the recent allegations against the Founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, it is yet to get details of the matter, other than news from social media

It further stated that the CAN leadership has reached out to the leadership of the block which the Pastor in question belongs, with a view to getting to the root of the matter

“This will help us to make the right decision on the issue,” the statement said

A Nigerian social commentator, Japheth Omojuwa, in a series of tweets strongly condemned rape as he commended Mrs Dakolo’s act of bravery

“This season of the Revelation has a rape story in it. Only an irrational person would be shocked by that. Busola Dakolo is brave. I hope her bravery helps other abused women step out. This thing is deeper than whatever is currently out there,” he said

“UNILORIN students of that period and residents of Ilorin won’t be surprised by these revelations. They know scores of girls, including minors, who went through the same ordeal,” he added

Popular Lagos pastor and head of Covenant Christian Center, Poju Oyemade, has also reacted to the rape allegation levelled against the clergyman, Biodun Fatoyinbo

In a statement he posted on Instagram, Oyemade said he found it hard to watch the video where the wife of singer, Timi Dakolo, Busola, accused Fatoyinbo of raping her. Read his statement below;

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My position on the case. I have been asked by many well meaning people about my position concerning the accusation of rape made against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. I could only watch the tape by Busola Dakolo for a few minutes, it was difficult to sit through it. From what I heard it is impossible not to be heart broken and sympathise with her. She must have gone through a lot and then to sit to tape her experience must have been very painful. She is today a wife and mother of three to have to relive a 20yr old experience. I immediately contacted the spiritual leader in the Body of Christ I believe Pastor Biodun deferrs in authority to, to wade into the issue and bring about a decision. He informed me his position. It was that Pst Biodun should first step down from the pulpit indefinitely, suspend 7days of glory and make a public statement. These he made known to him directly in an hour. This should serve as the first step. He informed me that was the position and asked my opinion. We had 3 objectives in mind. 1. Justice 2. Healing 3. Redemption. I have been informed that the decision to step down and cancel the 7 days of Glory have been made. It is apparent that the manner in which our Pentecostal Churches were/are born with an individual receiving a call directly from God and we all operating largely as independent bodies, our governing structures are not as strong as in the orthodox church settings with the exemption of Pentecostal denominations where you are appointed a pastor and can be easily sanctioned. This however makes it imperative that we go an extra mile to show a high level of compassion and sense of responsibility for people placed under our care or else what has brought our great growth may be what will destroy us. For those who have been abused and exposed in our independent pentecostal structures, I deeply apologise and we will seek to build stronger structures through peer reviews and in our relationships. Thank you and God bless you.

A post shared by Pastor Poju Oyemade (@pastorpoju) on Jul 1, 2019 at 12:36am PDT

In a related development, human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, condemned the alleged harassment and arrest of anti-rape activists who protested outside COZA, Abuja

SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, in a statement on Sunday urged the security agencies to release those arrested unconditionally