By Onyebuchi in Ezigbo in Abuja
The Commonwealth of Zion Assembly ( COZA ), the church whose founder, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, was accused by Busola Dakolo of raping her, has absolved him of culpability.
In its first major defence against the rape allegation, the church accused some pastors of being behind the “satanic campaign of calumny” against Fatoyinbo in order to poach his members.
Photographer Busola Dakolo and wife of a popular musician, Timi Dakolo, had made a damming allegation against Pastor Fatoyinbo, allleging the pastor raped her when she was still a teenager and member of his church.
However, in a statement issued on Saturday by Executive Senior Assistant to the Senior Pastor, Ademola Adetuberu, COZA described the rape allegation as a mere blackmail, adding that “justice will soon be served”.
COZA said: “We would like to, again, for the record reiterate that our Senior Pastor, Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, has never had anything personal to do with her. Busola was not raped by Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo and she had never been in a relationship with him either”.
The church said that it was breaking its silence on the matter to clear certain misconceptions and misinformation being churned out in order to misguide members of the church, public and relevant authorities.
It said that contrary to the impression being created by the rape allegation made against its pastor, COZA does not support rape.
According to COZA, Pastor Fatoyinbo has been a victim of envious and jealous men of God who had earlier accused him of snatching their members before the rape allegation came up.
It added that it was aware of certain pastors that felt threatened by the unprecedented growth of COZA and the grace of God upon Fatoyinbo cashing in on the rape scandal to try to poach its members.
COZA statement read: “As a result of the recent unprovoked satanic campaign of calumny orchestrated against the leadership and members of our church, Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) by agents of darkness.
“We stand with anyone who has been a victim of rape. We stand by our Founding and Senior Pastor, Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, who has been at the receiving end of organized blackmail and all sorts of attacks because of his innocence and we are sure that our faithful and unfailing God will vindicate him very soon.
“We see this ugly development fuelled by envy and sheer jealousy as an unnecessary distraction and a fight from the pit of hell against the ministry that God gave Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo, as well as a declaration of war against the Church of Christ to which COZA is a flourishing branch under God’s grace”.