The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has denied accusations from the public that it supports Biodun Fatoyinbo, the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) senior pastor who’s been accused of rape.
Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer, alleged last month that Fatoyinbo raped her twice when she was a teenager.
The accusation sparked a public outrage that eventually led to the Fatoyinbo taking a leave of absence from the pulpit.
As Nigeria’s foremost Christian organisation, many also called on CAN to investigate and sanction the accused, but the association said it couldn’t do so, especially since COZA is not its member.
However, many were displeased to see two CAN representatives address COZA’s congregation on Sunday, July 14, 2019 to offer backing to Fatoyinbo and his church.
“We’re in support of the church. We’re in support of your pastor. We stand by him and this church will continue to march forward,” CAN’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chairman, Samson Jonah, said to applause in a video that has been shared by many online.
In reaction to the outrage that has followed the public support for Fatoyinbo, CAN has disclosed that it did not sanction the solidarity visit, according to a statement signed by the organisation’s national director of legal and public affairs, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip.
“This message is to categorically inform the Christian leaders, the general public and all lovers of truth that CAN or the President of CAN did not approve and knows nothing about such a solidarity visit.
“Those who did so did it on their own. We stand by our earlier release on this issue that while we would never support any act of immorality from whatever quarter, we would not jump into passing judgement without investigation of the matter,” the statement read.
Vondip also disclosed that CAN president, Dr Samson Ayokunle, is in communication with the president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Dr Felix Omobude, who’s ordered an investigation into the allegation. He said the outcome of the investigation will be known in less than two weeks.
CAN urged its members to be cautious and implied it might take disciplinary action against Jonah and its North Central chairman, Israel Akanji, the two representatives who publicly backed Fatoyinbo on Sunday.
Another former COZA member has also accused Fatoyinbo of rape following Busola Dakolo’s allegation, with many other victims rumoured to exist.
Many have called for Fatoyinbo to be investigated by the authorities for the several allegations against him.