COZA saga: Outrage as CAN sides with Fatoyinbo over rape allegations

The decision of two leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria to visit the Abuja branch of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly on Sunday has provoked a social media backlash.

In a viral footage the president of CAN Abuja, Reverend Jonah Samson and CAN President North Central, Reverend Israel Akanji addressed the church pledging their  supports for the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, who has been accused of rape by the wife of singer, Timi Dakolo, Busola, and another anonymous lady.

”I assure you that we are with you and we will continue to be with you. We are in support of the church. We are in support of your pastor. We stand by him and this church will continue to match forward,” Reverend Jonah said.

The Guardian cannot categorically report that the two Reverends were sent to the church by the national body of the association. But the acting general secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola, a few days ago said the CAN leadership was already seeking ways to address the issues to heal every wound already inflicted on the parties concerned and the body of Christ in general.

Twitter users described the two pastors visit and their address as “disgusting” and “insensitive”.
“This is disgusting to watch. It’s amazing to see CAN, which should be an impartial adjudicator in the matter unabashedly taking sides like this,” posted one Twitter user.
Another comment read,” I watched that video of the CAN representatives at COZA and I am utterly disgusted at the Christianity that they pretend to practice.”

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Dakolo accused Fatoyinbo of raping her when she was a teenager in an interview. She described how he allegedly groomed her as she attended his then fellowship group, Divine Delight Club – which later transformed into Coza – giving her books, visiting her at home, singling her out to sing at meetings and driving her around in his Mercedes.

She claims he then came to her family home early one morning when her mother was away and raped her in the living room, as her sister slept upstairs. Afterwards, she said Fatoyinbo went to get a bottle of Krest, a fizzy lemon drink, from his car and forced her to drink it, saying: “You should be happy that a man of God did this to you.” She was 16.

He allegedly raped her again a week later on his car bonnet, after insisting on driving her home. Afterwards, Dakolo claimed he said: “You’ll be fine. This thing is not a new thing. Men of God do this.”

She said after she told her family what had allegedly happened, he came to her house with other senior members of the church and apologised, saying the alleged rapes were “a weakness” and “an act of the devil”.
Fatoyinbo quickly denied the allegations saying: “I have never in my life raped anybody even as an unbeliever and I am absolutely innocent of this.”
A few days after another former member of the church alleged that Fatoyibo raped her.
She said the incident happened in 2017 at the Fatoyibo’s house.

The pastor has since issued a statement saying he was taking “a leave of absence from the pulpit” to “submit to the concerns of (his) spiritual mentors”, and that he did not understand all that was happening. (The Guardian)

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