The wife of Biodun Fatoyinbo, the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor (Mrs.) Modele Fatoyinbo has stoutly spoken in defence of her embattled husband who was recently accused of rape by celebrity photographer, Busola Dakolo, wife of singer, Timi Dakolo.
In her sermon during Sunday service of the church, she said: “Not even as an unbeliever will my pastor rape anyone”.
She further said: “When help wants to come to you, it starts like a trouble. This is the authentic COZA that you are hearing about. You may have some small enemies, but God always separate the major from the minor”.
But while the members of the Church carried on as if nothing was amiss, protesters numbering hundreds under the aegis of ‘#ChurchToo Movement’ stormed the church to protest against the alleged sexual abuse by Fatoyimbo.
As the sermon continued, Pastor Biodun went to the pulpit, took over the microphone from his wife and informed the congregants that the “the elders are looking into it”.
He also announced the cancellation of the Seven Days of Glory programme scheduled to begin on Monday.
He said the church has cancelled invitations for popularly known clerics to attend its ‘Seven Days of Glory’s fasting and prayer programme scheduled to run through the first week of July, explaining that he “won’t like to put invited guests from within and outside Nigeria through the sort of thing that was happening outside.”
He told the congregation, “I am very proud of you all, thank you for standing by the church, thank you for standing by the Lord Jesus Christ. I am the most blessed pastor in the world. It took me hours to get to this place today. You know I am a man of peace; I don’t like these kinds of stuff that is happening. Please as you are going out, the ushers will direct you on how to move, Let’s be a people of peace, I am a very peaceful person, when you are going out, please don’t fight nobody, be peaceful, If they say anything to you, just keep quiet.
The service was however held under heavy security presence, worshippers, both high and mighty, coming into the venue were subjected to a thorough search. Nobody could go in with any writing material, whether jotter, a piece of paper or pen.
While the church’s male security personnel screened the men, the female security officers searched all female bags and removed every writing material in the bags. On entering the church, beautifully dressed ushers beaming with smiles lined up in different areas welcoming worshipers, especially “first timers” with the word, “I celebrate you”.
The church auditorium, including the overflow, were filled with the atmosphere fully charged with melodious music even as worshipers who were visibly less concerned about allegations against their pastor, danced as if nothing was going on outside the church. Also, so many women gave testimonies of how their marital and financial lives have been transformed since they joined the church
But the protest continued outside with the protesters chanting various songs against the pastor and exchanging words with the security for not allowing them get to the entrance of the church.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Bukky Shonibare, said the pattern and the repetitiveness of the allegations was worrisome and required urgent attention, adding that leaders placed in positions of authority must be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny and accountability.
She lamented that the church authority has not taken any action on an allegation of such magnitude as rape and demanded that the leadership commence immediate investigation into the allegation of rape leveled against Pastor Fatoyinbo while the pastor steps down from any leadership role in the church.