SATURDAY VINTAGE STORY
Following the recent rape allegation against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly by Busola Dakolo, there appears many more will follow. The latest being an ex-female staff of the church. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports
Barely a week after the release of a video that went viral in which Busola Dakolo, wife of popular musician Timi Dakolo, accused Pastor Abiodun Fatoyinbo, of forcefully having sex with her twice as a teenager, so many stories of other women who claimed they were assaulted or raped by Abiodun Fatoyinbo who is the founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly – COZA – have emerged.
Many of them, as it is believed were afraid to speak up because they claimed that their lives would be at risk; they are afraid of public scrutiny/interrogation of their recollections of this event and the attacks that may follow. The allegation had sparked outrage which led to protests at the Abuja and Lagos churches of COZA with the demonstrators demanding justice and for the flamboyant pastor to step down.
As it turned out to be, Fatoyinbo announced his decision to “step aside” from the pulpit on Monday. This was shortly after issuing a statement denying ever having anything to do with Mrs. Dakolo in the manner which she had alleged.
Recall that Timi Dakolo recently launched an attack on the clergyman, anonymously. He called out the pastor, accusing him of taking advantage of women in his ministry and leaving them broken emotionally. Speaking during an explosive interview with Y TV, Busola, a photographer and a mother of three, recounted how the clergyman who has been embroiled in a number of sexual assault related cases, Ese Walter being the most prominent, allegedly raped her in her mother’s house while she was still in secondary school. “You should be happy a man of God took your virginity,” he told Busola
In her interview, Busola recounted how the clergyman also allegedly tried having sex with her inside his matrimonial home when she came in to help his wife, Modele, when she had their first child. Busola, like Ese Walters, bottled up for longer until recently.
Flashback 2013, the lady Ese Walter had confessed after a journey of emotional torture that she had sexual relations with the clergyman when she released her tell all statement of how Fatoyinbo allegedly manipulated her sexually.
Many bashed Ese for her story, accusing her of trying to destroy the church. But she would move on to live her life. Following recent development amidst the scandal involving the clergyman, two other major accounts came up. One from popular Nollywood actress Stella Damasus who hinted about another allege rape victim of Biodun Fatoyinbo who is in the eyes of the storm.
Stella had tweeted: “I am in tears right now. Just got off the phone with someone I have known for 15 years. She had the same experience with this same pastor. The details of her experience were so shocking. She told people around him, but they all suppressed it. Are people still doubting this incident?”
The second other account has been that of a lady who was identified as Franca E. The lady revealed the General Overseer of COZA went all out to talk down on his wife just to anoint her at Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi after she was introduced to the church in Abuja by her childhood friend, who moved to Abuja from Calabar two years before she joined as Pastoral Care Unit worker.
Franca E said: “He would stand soooooo close and rub my upper arms or my back which made me very uncomfortable. The final straw was when he said I should go with him to Lagos to take notes and transfer same online immediately for some Pentecostal thing he was attending and he knew I was very computer literate… I was excited till we reached Lagos and I realized that only one room was booked at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi…
“He said many derogatory things about his wife, calling her a postcard…pretty on the outside but flat and empty upstairs. He said sex with her was like having sex with a cold dead fish…he tried to kiss me and I stood up, picked up my travelling bag, moved to the door, opened it and quickly took a picture of him, standing with a towel around him.
“He started begging. I called him all sorts of names and insisted he give me money for a separate room or I would scream ‘rape’. To cut a long story short, he asked me to shut the door, I refused, he brought out two bundles of N1000 and asked me to delete before he gives me the money.”
Another woman, who chose not to mention her name, emerged on Thursday and spoke up against Fatoyinbo. She stated that the COZA founder’s wife, Modele might be aware of her husband’s alleged escapades.
In the new video shared by YNaija, the anonymous lady who was given the tag ‘X’ revealed that she joined COZA church in Abuja in 2009, and the church’s only music team Avalanche offered her sanctuary at that time. According to the lady, her relationship with the Fatoyinbos became more intense, after Modele took an interest in her.
She began to extend opportunities for Miss X to work intimately with her, handing her small responsibilities in the church’s administration, and graduating into the opportunity to care for the Fatoyinbo’s youngest son Ephraim. Her bond with Ephraim and the Pastor’s other kids, brought up the discussion of becoming the boy’s guardian abroad.
Miss X didn’t see the red flags because the opportunity was in line with her desire to do more within the church, and kept the bond she had made with Fatoyinbo’s children. Before long, she was sent to go and work in one of the cities abroad where the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has a branch.
Modele had done the job of hiring her but Miss X’s position also required her to work closely with Pastor Biodun, who visited her city abroad regularly to minister to his congregation and spend time with his children who were schooling in the city. At this time she considered him a mentor and a father figure.
So, it didn’t seem weird to her to go see the pastor at home. Pastor Biodun had started their meeting innocently enough; he talked about something to do with church. Things moved pretty swiftly from there. She was seated on a long couch, and he left his seat and came to sit on her couch. He moved swiftly, trying to pull her into a hug and kiss her.
She remembers thinking to herself, “I had known him, not only as a mentor but as a spiritual leader. I’ve heard him preach, I’ve heard him talk about God; and there I was, about to witness him do the complete opposite of what he stood for.” She kept asking him to stop, appealing to his conscience as her spiritual father but he didn’t listen.
He allegedly undid the buttons of her jeans and took off her trousers. It was a couch and there was space to wiggle, but she didn’t even think to grab anything she could use as a weapon. She was just too shocked to react; he had just put his hands into her underwear. “Just relax.” He said, as he took off his trousers and forced her legs apart, convinced he had her subdued.
All through the period where he allegedly raped her, she tried to reconcile the person she called her spiritual father with the man on top of her. After the alleged rape took place, he walked her to the door and sent her on her way, convinced she would not talk. And she didn’t, she stayed silent and he returned to Nigeria and his Abuja congregation.
She further revealed that the alleged rape shook her faith, and forced her to reevaluate everything she knew about God and Pentecostal Christianity. The distance gave her time to process her circumstance and plan her exist strategy. Miss X further revealed that Fatoyinbo called later to apologize after Busola Dakolo went public with her rape story.
Miss X alleged that the rape happened in the last quarter of 2017 in the foreign country, but she stayed on working within the church till July of the following year. According to her, the incident showed her how much power over her life she had relinquished to the Fatoyinbos. She claimed she was at the mercy of the church, dependent on them financially for her sustenance, shelter and community.
QUOTE: He would stand soooooo close and rub my upper arms or my back which made me very uncomfortable. The final straw was when he said I should go with him to Lagos to take notes and transfer same online immediately for some Pentecostal thing he was attending and he knew I was very computer literate… I was excited till we reached Lagos and I realized that only one room was booked at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi