Rape Allegations: COZA Pastor Takes Leave of Absence
By Dipo Omoware
Embattled pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) Biodun Fatoyinbo has stepped down from "pulpit duties." This follows rape allegations from Busola Dakolo, wife of musician Timi Dakolo on Friday which led to protests in COZA churches in Abuja and Lagos on Sunday.
Writing on his Instagram page, the pastor announced his decision after consulting with other Christian leaders.
"Drawing from their counsel and that of the Leadership of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly and owing to my love for God’s work and the sacred honour of my calling, I have decided to take a leave of absence from the pulpit of the church," Fatoyinbo said.
“The past few days have been very sobering for me," he added.
" I have taken time to pray and seek spiritual counsel from Christian leaders around the world who feel very concerned about ongoing reports in the media. I have solicited their guidance on actions I should take that honouring to our Lord Jesus Christ and the work He has called me to do.”
On Sunday, church activities in Abuja and Lagos witnessed protesters who demanded that the COZA Senior Pastor step down from his duties to allow proper investigations.
But Fatoyinbo's wife Pastor Modele Fatoyinbo defend her husband during service at the COZA worship centre in Abuja.
According to her, her husband "is not a rapist. Even if he was not a believer, he would not be a rapist."
Meanwhile, the Social Intervention Advocacy Foundation (SIAF) in conjunction with the Citizen's Gavel, will on Monday begin the process to file a class-action law suit against Pastor Fatoyinbo.
Founder of SIAF, Segun Awosanya, says the suit follows accusations by over 30 women, 70 per cent of whom claim they were raped while the rest say they were sexually assaulted.
Awosanya, who spoke to Nigeria Info's Bimbo Awoyele, said the police will also begin a criminal investigation into the rape allegations in Abuja while a civil suit will be filed in Lagos.