COZA pastor in rape scandal bows to pressure, ‘takes leave of absence from pulpit’
The embattled founder and senior pastor of the Commonwealth Of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, has announced that he would be “taking a leave of absence from the pulpit of the church.”
Fatoyinbo made this known in a statement on his Instagram page yesterday. The pastor’s decision came amid public outcry, which called on him to step down and address the rape allegations leveled against him by Busola, wife of popular singer, Timi Dakolo, on Friday.
In the statement, Fatoyinbo said he took the decision after consulting with several spiritual leaders around the world and the leadership of COZA. He wrote: “This step enables me to submit to the concerns of my spiritual mentors as they consider all the issues that have been raised against me.
“Though I do not understand all that is happening, I trust the lord to guide and lead me one step at a time. Kindly pray for me and the congregation as we seek the face of the lord at these turbulent times.”
The pastor had endured scathing criticisms on social media and a well mobilized protests at its church services in Abuja and Lagos on Sunday when the interview of one of his alleged victims was made public. Mrs. Dakolo, a former member of COZA, told an online medium in the emotional interview that she was 16 when Fatoyinbo raped her in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Reacting, the Senior Pastor of Daystar Church, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, has urged Nigerians to pray for everyone, while the process to seek truth is ongoing. He said: “My attention has been drawn to the allegations of rape made against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo. These are, no doubt, serious allegations. Rape is a crime and I say a firm NO to rape.
“As Christians, it is only appropriate for us to seek for truth, justice, healing, and restoration for all involved. The Bible instructs us to do this with humility. While the allegations have been refuted, I hope there will be a process, legal or counseling, to establish the truth in these circumstances.”
Also, Pastor Poju Oyemade of the Covenant Christian Centre, yesterday said the Pentecostal arm of Christendom needed to build stronger structures through peer reviews in order to prevent potential abuse.
“It is apparent that the manner in which our Pentecostal churches were/are born with an individual receiving a call directly from God and we all operating largely as independent bodies, our governing structures are not as strong as in the orthodox church settings with the exemption of Pentecostal denominations where you are appointed a pastor and can be easily sanctioned.”
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