By Emmanuel Afonne
The Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) on Monday urged Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, to surrender himself for investigation having stepped down from the pulpit as senior pastor of the church.
Fatoyinbo had been the subject of discussion since last week after Mrs Busola Dakolo, wife of inspiration singer Timi Dakolo accused him of raping her when she was 17 years.
He stepped down on Monday but still insisted that he had never raped anyone before, ‘not even as an unbeliever’. The allegation had elicited reactions from Nigerians including those in the presidency.
However, Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, Convener of COPA, in a statement issued on Monday commended Pastor Fatoyinbo for stepping down as senior pastor in COZA but urged him to take it a step further by reporting to the police for investigation.
“We at COPA are of the mind that while the above is a good way to start that Mr Biodun Fatoyinbo must take a step further in the interest of addressing and assuaging public interest by reporting to the Nigeria Police Force voluntary, a truly neutral arbiter in this instance, to provide answers to public queries on the matter.
“This is in view of making sure that the results of the investigations from both the church committee and the Police Force, being independent sources, would satisfactorily put to rest all sundry issues generated by the intense rape allegations hanging over him.
“A man of clear conscience fears nothing and we hope that it would never come to the point where Mr. Biodun Fatoyinbo is compelled beyond personal alacrity to do the needful and submit self to the Police Force for questioning.
“Needless to say that his status as a popular man of God and the issue of betrayal of fiduciary trust, infidelity and the crime of rape makes it imperative that no room is left for doubt to exist on his innocence of the claims against him.
“Conversely, by voluntarily submitting himself to the Police Force for questioning, he makes a much needed statement in lieu of his claims to innocence.
“It also affords the public the opportunity to pursue further actions where it is established that he may in fact have criminal issues to answer to or not.
Olajengbesi stated that COPA would continue to monitor events as they unfold to ensure that no rights are abused, nor any process skewered to favor one party against the other in this matter.
The COPA Convener while urging the pastor not to slack in establishing his innocence noted that where justice must be done, it must be manifestly seen to be done.