The pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Biodun Fatoyinbo, on Friday denied rape allegation made against him by Busola Dakolo, wife of musician, Timi Dakolo, and threatened to sue his accusers.
Following the allegation by Busola in an interview granted to Ynaija that she was raped by the popular pastor while she was a teenager; Fatoyinbo released a statement on his official Instagram page to debunk the allegations levelled against him, saying several statements had been made to extort the church through blackmail, harassment and intimidation.
The statement read in part, “I am aware that there has been a recent media publication on YouTube by YNaija operated and owned by RED Media Group, which shows an interview by Chude Jideonwo with Busola Dakolo. Prior to now, we had adhered to our policy of ignoring rumours from social media accounts as we knew that several statements had been made to extort the church of money and myself through blackmail, harassment and intimidation. We have refused time and again to accede to their request, which has infuriated them overtime; because of this, they have got more aggressive.
“Unlike previous statements where innuendos were used and there was no direct mention of myself or the church, the recent video released on YouTube has now made direct criminal allegations against me in the interview granted by Busola Dakolo, which are fallacious, non-existent and which are all denied in every measure.
“As an individual and as a church, we love and support people, we will never condone any form of rape, harassment, or intimidation of anybody. I have never in my life raped anybody even as an unbeliever and I am absolutely innocent of this.
“Busola Dakolo, who has made this false allegation and her family, attended the church during the early start of the church in Ilorin in 1999. I never had any private interactions with her beyond my pastoral duties. Looking at her status and that of her husband, I am dumbfounded by why she would say such a thing.”
Vowing to take a tough stance against the rape allegation, the pastor said, “We will also not stand for false criminal allegations made against me or the church. The leadership of the church and I have briefed our lawyers to commence criminal and civil actions against all individuals making such false allegations whether directly or by proxies.
“We will as a church pursue every measure within the ambits of the law to bring culprits to justice. We have heard and we will not be surprised to see more of such allegations by people who have been paid to continue in this line of blackmail, harassment and extortion, including those who may have been dismissed from their duties in the church on disciplinary grounds.
“To all our members and those supporting God’s work, I want to assure you that we would fight this and the Lord will vindicate us. This has always been intended to attack the church; this is the intent of the adversary, the intent is to destroy the church, so please stay focused and prayerful.”
The church had on Friday disabled the comment section on its Instagram page after it was flooded by negative comments. However, it was reopened soon after Fatoyinbo’s statement was released.
Many people had left comments on the church’s official Instagram page – @cozaglobal to express their anger and disappointment at the alleged crime.
Meanwhile, since Busola came out with the rape allegation in an interview, messages of support have been pouring in for her on social media.
For instance, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Diaspora Commmission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in her message to Timi Dakolo, said, “What can I say about your wife! A woman of strength, courage. We all, as women, must rise up and demand justice. I sponsored the violence against persons bill which prescribes life imprisonment for rape. Busola, you’ve got my back!”
Many celebrities also offered their support on Busola’s Instagram page via their official handles, including Davido; Simi; Banky W; his wife, Adesua Etomi; Mercy Johnson Okojie; Omawumi; Kemi Adetiba; and Funmi Iyanda.
Simi said, “I’m sorry this is even your truth at all. God bless you. You’re strong.”
Adesua Etomi said, “Busola, I am so sorry. My heart is with you. May healing from speaking the truth come and may it calm the storm within. You are so brave. I love you.”
“We are all here for you,” Davido said.
Banky W said, “This was so hard to watch. I am so sorry you went through this nightmare. But I am so proud of you for sharing your truth. You didn’t speak up for yourself alone, but for all the voiceless victims who have suffered similar horrors at the hands of predators like him. Sending love, light and support your way. We are standing by you and Timi Dakolo. God bless, protect and strengthen you. Stay strong. You are incredible.”
“My own sis, you are courage itself, I love you and respect Timi Dakolo for his friendship. You both are such an example of what friendship truly is. Thank you for teaching us better. I stand with you,” Okojie said.
“I love you, sending you virtual hugs. Thank you for speaking your truth, may more of us be brave like you. May we learn from your bravery and continue to speak up. God bless you and Timi Dakolo. Busola Dakolo I am so proud of you. Love will never leave your home,” Omawumi said.
“If you need a steady hand in court, here’s mine,” Iyanda promised.
The mother of three had made the revelation in an interview with Ynaija, revealing shocking details of how the popular pastor deflowered her and told her to be thankful she lost her pride as a woman to a ‘man of God’ like him.
In the interview, Busola said while she was still below the age of 18, the pastor allegedly visited her parents’ home when no one was in the house and raped her, deflowering her in the process.
She said on a particular day, Fatoyinbo came to her childhood home, opened the door, took off his belt, pushed her on to the couch in the living room and jumped on her.
Mrs. Dakolo is the second high profile person after Ese Walter to accuse Fatoyinbo of rape.
The Spokesperson for the Christian Association of Nigeria, when asked for comments, had said the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria was more appropriate to comment on the issue as it was the body dealing directly with Pentecostal churches.
When the paper’s correspondent later contacted the National Publicity Secretary of the PFN, Bishop Emmah Isong, he said the pastor in question should be the one to respond to the allegation.
“I have not heard about it, I cannot rely on Internet at my level. Why not call him straight and ask him. I don’t know if he is a member of PFN in his place. I cannot make comment on somebody’s personal life; it is against my ethics. It is very personal; I think the person involved should answer his questions.
“It is not the PFN that raped the person; it was an individual that allegedly raped the person. It would be very funny to interview PFN on the case. I have not verified if he is a member of the PFN. Even if I verify that he is a member, it falls within a different category; it is now a human rights issue. It does not have an organisational implication,” he said.
According to the Federal Capital Territory Police Command Public Relations Officer, Anjuguri Manzah, the allegation has not been reported to the police, so they could not do anything about it.
“The rape allegation has not been reported. I would advise the complainant to report officially to police. I am just hearing it from you. I am not sure the command has got any response to that effect,” he said.