Senior Pastor, Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo is in the custody of the police and is being grilled over allegation of rape levelled against him by Busola Dakolo.
Dakolo had accused Fatoyinbo of raping her 20 years ago when she was still 16 years old in Ilorin, Kwara State. Fatoyinbo has denied the allegation.
Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba told the PUNCH on Tuesday that the COZA pastor was in police custody and being grilled.
“Yes, he is in our custody,” Mba said, but dodged the question on whether Fatoyinbo was being detained, saying it was too early to comment on that.
According to him, the investigation of Fatoyinbo was a proof that the police had not swept the matter under the carpet as being insinuated in some quarters.
When asked why it took so long for the pastor to be invited, Mba said the police wanted to get statements from several witnesses and then build a solid case before inviting him.
“We have done a whole lot of background investigations and spoken to a whole lot of people before now. It was a deliberate investigative procedure to bring him last. Although we may invite others later depending on how investigations go.
“We were not in a hurry to bring him because we wanted to have enough background information that would be used in interrogating him. We have done an extensive investigation,” he told the PUNCH.
Few days ago, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, said Fatoyinbo snubbed the panel set up to probe the allegation of rape against the COZA pastor.
The PFN said because he refused to appear before the panel, the probe had been declared inconclusive.
According to PFN’s National Publicity Secretary, Bishop Emma Isong, who spoke with newsmen in Lagos on Thursday, Busola and her husband, Timi Dakolo appeared before the panel while Fatoyinbo did not.
He however said the panel could not conclude its work because Fatoyinbo refused to show up despite “several invitations and efforts.”
“The panel met for over one month and interfaced with parties involved in the matter. Unfortunately, all attempts to meet with Fatoyinbo failed despite many efforts we made.”
Asked what efforts they made specifically, he said Fatoyinbo was invited through letters, calls and proxies without any success.
“Several efforts were made. Several calls were made but he rebuffed us. He shunned the invitation of the panel to defend himself.”
He said since the accused was absent, it would be impossible for the panel to conclude on its investigation.
PFN however commended the Dakolos for showing up at the panel.
“PFN appreciates the respect that Mrs. Dakolo and her husband accorded the panel by showing up and interacting with members, ” Isong said.
He expressed surprise for the Fatoyinbo snub as he had asked the body to intervene during the heat of the accusation.
However, Fatoyinbo said he shunned the panel because his lawyers advised him not to appear.
Senior Assistant to the COZA Pastor, Ademola Adetuberu, in a statement said the legal advice was also premised on the statement by the PFN President, Bishop Felix Omobude, “where our pastor was publicly disowned”.
The statement read, “We recall that when Pastor Fatoyinbo was invited by a phone call a few days ago by Pastor Akinola Akinwale, who is the National Administrative Secretary of PFN, we explained that our pastor would not honour the invitation due to legal advice hinged on the ongoing police investigation.
“The legal advice was also premised on the statement signed by the PFN President, Bishop Felix Omobude, where our pastor was publicly disowned. Based on the foregoing, we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the PFN was already prejudiced and may not conduct an impartial session.
“According to the report, Rev Omobude, who we hold in high esteem, went further to crucify our pastor without seeking to know his side of the story on the matter. With all due respect, we consider this a prejudicial position in dispensing justice and fairness.”
Fatoyinbo argued that “Even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was given an opportunity for fair hearing by the kangaroo panel set up with the prime motive of condemning Him to death.”
He said there was no invitation letter from the panel or the PFN, apart from a telephone call requesting him to appear before the panel, adding that a PFN officer who spoke to one of his lawyers was informed that he (Fatoyinbo) would not appear before the panel until the police investigation was concluded.