By Emmanuel Afonne
The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) has urged the police to immediately commence investigation on the rape allegation levelled against Pastor Biodun Fatoyimbo by Mrs Busola Dakolo, wife of renowned inspirational artiste, Timi Dakolo.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Dakolo accused Fatoyimbo, the Senior Pastor, Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), of sexually abusing and raping her.
She had claimed that the incident resulted in loss of virtue, face and also exposed her to ridicule and trauma.
Pelumi Olajengbesi, leader of COPA, in a statement described the allegation as grievous and must therefore not be swept under the carpet.
“In our quest to build a sane nation, no stone should be left unturned; this matter must be treated with the urgency it deserves and not swept under the carpet, as has regrettably been the habit.
“With the provisions of sections 4 and 24 of the Police Act, the Nigerian Police Force must urgently invite Pastor Biodun Fatoyimbo to appear before it to rest all sundry matters related to this matter. This is our demand.
“Regardless, the police must begin a thorough independent investigation of the allegations against Pastor Fatoyimbo, given that rape is a criminal matter that is squarely within their purview and mandate as a law enforcement agency.
“The Nigerian Police are to whereupon make its findings public and proceed to prosecute the culprit without delay, where its investigations turn up sufficient material for a case of rape,” Olajengbesi stated.
According to him, no fewer than 24 public interests lawyers and advocates have volunteered to take up the case of Dakolo, at no cost.
He said that decision of the lawyers to take up the matter was due to the fact that similar allegations had been levelled against the pastor in the past.
“We are mindful that such an allegation had in the past been levelled against the same individual by a plethora of women claiming to have had the misfortune of coming in contact with him.
“Any reasonable individual must deduce that there is in fact a dire concern to be put to rest here by laying the whole truth bare through proactive action.
“The failure of Pastor Biodun Fatoyimbo, now and in the past, to address these allegations and clear the air on his innocence is not just an arrogant disregard of public sensitivity but a dare to the general public, perhaps, to ‘do its worse’.
“The issue of rape and sexual abuse is a contextual one with a great significance in our laws and culture.
“It is not just a ruthless crime but a moral impropriety that must be addressed post-haste for the culprit to face justice so the victim might find succour and respite in the sanction of the law.”