#pulpitNpeople: Why most Nigerian pastors avoid media interviews – Adesuwa Onyenokwe

TV Personality, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, speaks to associates of controversial Pastor #BiodunFatoyinbo on the controversial #BusolaDakolo / #Cozagate rape scandal.


The Pulpit and the People, #pulpitNpeople – Rev. Oset & Pst. Busola


A Second Survivor Comes Forward With Her Experience With Biodun Fatoyinbo And The Tacit Guilt Of His Wife

To understand how much fear Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo inspires in the subject of our next interview; we will tell you how much censoring we had to concede to get the interview we share today. It took significant motivation to even get our interviewee in the right frame of mind to tell her story, sitting quietly with her as she was forced to process the trauma of her experience in front of a crew of strangers. We were initially supposed to obscure her face, but she felt so unsettled by the possibility of being recognized, we eventually blurred most of her visible frame. We had a box of tissues handy, because retelling her story overwhelmed her, even now when the majority seems in support of her.

She tells the story honestly, on the hope that her story will build on the impact of Busola Dakolo and Ese Walter’s stories and shed more light on the crimes of an alleged serial rapist and the system that enables him.

This interview is paraphrased, to listen to X tell her story herself watch the video below.


The first time X was given a glimpse into the reality of the Fatoyinbo’s was in 2013. She was just a fringe member and church worker at the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) Abuja, when the Ese Walter story broke, first on her blog, then on spreading like wildfire on the internet. X hadn’t started working closely with the pastor and his wife at that time and she remembers clearly waking up early to prepare for her day job. She picked up her phone to check the morning news and saw the story about Ese Walter and immediately felt the weight of its implications. Her infallible pastor had abused his authority, had an affair with a church worker and defiled his matrimonial bed.  She was shocked and struggled to make sense of the story because it didn’t mark any of the boxes about she believed constituted rape or coercion. Ese didn’t consider herself a victim in the traditional sense, her narrative suggested a tinge of self congratulation, she didn’t seem sorry about her part in the affair. X eventually dismissed Walter’s story, filing it away as some kind of bizarre smear campaign. And it was easy for her because she was the ‘average’ COZA member.

After 4 years of serving within the church, she’d come to share the near rabid adoration COZA members have for Fatoyinbo. They were bombarded with the message that their proximity to the pastor made them special and being chosen in this way made people who weren’t chosen jealous and vindictive. X felt encouraged to only follow other COZA members on social media and prioritize business and personal relationships with them. She felt encouraged to shun all outsiders, to see them as interlopers who didn’t understand the message and were looking only to sabotage Fatoyinbo and the church. Ese Walter was even worse, she was a member who had defected and wanted to tarnish the image of the church. It was easy to dismiss Ese Walter, especially as the church framed her testimony as an attempt to discredit the church, which was moving to a larger, permanent venue at the time. The Devil was trying to sabotage Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s ministry and Jesus would triumph. She pushed away the incident and allowed herself be consumed with immersing herself in COZA.

At this point X had spent 4 years in the church. She joined in 2009, this was in Abuja and the church’s only music team Avalanche offered her sanctuary. She had no relationship with the Fatoyinbo’s at that time but she was already in their orbit, as most of the church members who serve in public positions like the choir are. She had grown up in a conventional christian family but had never experienced the fervor and devotion to Christian doctrine that defined fundamentalist christians. Pentecostal Christianity was an answer to her questions she had and COZA met her desire for validation and awareness. There was a deliberateness in COZA, and attention to detail that was striking to X, and it was fascinating enough that she joined and stayed from 2009 to 2015, serving in the music group. She was comfortable but wanted more.

But in 2015, things would become more intense. Fatoyinbo’s wife Modele took an interest in her. She began to extend opportunities for X to work intimately with her, handing her small responsibilities in the church’s administration and graduating into the opportunity to care for the Fatoyinbo’s youngest son Ephraim. X and Ephraim developed a special bond; they would spend time together on Sundays ambling around Abuja, visiting child friendly parks and sharing all the experiences the city could offer to children. Sundays were especially hectic for the family and having Ephraim cared for in this way, was presented as a relief to Modele. X felt special, because it was common knowledge that the Fatoyinbo’s children were sequestered from the rest of the congregation and rarely interacted with them on a personal level. For Modele to grant X access in this way, first with Ephraim and then to the rest of their children was an impressive move to disarm her. She began to tutor them in their academics, growing closer with the children to the point where Modele broached the subject of if X would relocate outside the country and become a legal guardian for the children as the Fatoyinbo’s toyed with the idea of sending their children abroad for their education.


It was known across the church branches that the Fatoyinbos carefully guarded access to their children, so anyone who was granted access in this way was exalted. Women and girls chosen in this way were referred to as ‘choice daughters’. It was a term reserved for teenage girls X believes are being groomed but were also extended to young women. Being granted this access also implied that whoever was chosen needed to reciprocate with an increased level of loyalty. When Modele Fatoyinbo suggested X move across continents to become an au pair for her children, she didn’t hesitate. At this point, she had been caring for the Fatoyinbo children for a year (2015 – 2016) and had grown incredibly close to them. X believes had Modele had given her this access to groom her on Biodun’s behalf.

X didn’t see the red flags because the opportunity was in line with her desire to do more within the church and kept the bond she had made with Fatoyinbo’s children. Traveling abroad was an extra perk. X didn’t really consider the fact that relocating to another country with the Fatoyinbo’s and working for their organization put her entirely under their mercy. That gave them a significant amount of power over her, power that would eventually lead to her exploitation and alleged rape.


Before long, she was living abroad, in one of the cities where the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) has branches across the world. Modele had done the job of hiring her but X’s position also required her to work closely with Pastor Biodun, who visited her city regularly to minister to his congregation there and spend time with his children who were schooling in the city. The day the incident happened, she had found out that Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo had come into the country where she lived, working for the COZA branch and serving as an au pair for the Fatoyinbos. The pastor traveled the world as part of his duties as head pastor and she had spent many hours in close proximity to the pastor in the past, sometimes in her capacity as an au pair.

At this time she considered him a mentor and a father figure. So it didn’t seem weird to her to go see the pastor at home. She had come to the house many times, she was familiar with the terrain and had made many deeply cherished memories there bonding with Fatoyinbo’s wife Modele and their children, especially the oldest, Shindara. Pastor Biodun had started their meeting innocently enough, he talked about something to do with church. Things moved pretty swiftly from there. She was seated on a long couch, and he left his seat and came to sit on her couch. He moved swiftly, trying to pull her into a hug and kiss her.

She remembers thinking to herself, “I had known him, not only as a mentor but as a spiritual leader. I’ve heard him preach, I’ve heard him talk about God; and there I was, about to witness him do the complete opposite of what he stood for.”

She also remembers what she was wearing that day, a pair of navy blue jeans, and remembers him trying to peel them off her legs. She kept asking him to stop, appealing to his conscience as her spiritual father but he didn’t listen. He undid the buttons of her jeans and took off her trousers. It was a couch and there was space to wiggle, but she didn’t even think to grab anything she could use as a weapon. She was just too shocked to react, he had just put his hands into her underwear.

X was someone who has had to fight a lot of unwanted sexual advances her entire life and up to that point she believed she had gained enough experience at spotting worrying behaviour. She felt guilt for ignoring her own instincts and felt like a failure for finding herself in the very position she’d fought so hard to avoid.

“Just relax.” He said, as he took off his trousers and forced her legs apart, convinced he had her subdued.

All through the period where he allegedly raped her, she tried to reconcile the person she called her spiritual father with the man on top of her. He was nothing like the charismatic, thoughtful and empathetic leader, who took his time to ensure she felt comfortable around him. This person was feral, focused in his attempt to subdue her. After, he switched seamlessly back into the pastor she knew, apologizing as though he wasn’t the one who had inflicted pain on her. He was so impassioned, so emphatic about not wanting to hurt her that she immediately began to minimize his actions, like she had done something to trigger this kind of behaviour, to inspire this kind of violence. He walked her to the door and sent her on her way, convinced she would not talk. And she didn’t, she stayed silent and he returned to Nigeria and his Abuja congregation.

After her alleged rape, it became starkly clear how much power over her life she had relinquished to the Fatoyinbos. There she was, at the mercy of the church, dependent on them financially for her sustenance, shelter and community.

The alleged rape happened in the last quarter of 2017, but she stayed on working within the church till July of the following year. It helped that Fatoyinbo had to shepherd his Nigerian congregation and could only spend limited amounts of time in the city in which she lived at the time. The distance gave her enough detachment to wean herself off survival mode. Her life revolved around the church, so there was nowhere to return but there. So she did, performed her duties, interacted with other team workers and volunteers, unable to admit to anyone the violent alleged rape she had just experienced.

Jolted into consciousness, the fervor of the congregation and other church members disillusioned her. She’d been one of them in 2013 and she knew how they would react to any kind of accusation against the pastor. The alleged rape had shaken her faith and forced her to reevaluate everything she knew about God and Pentecostal Christianity. The distance gave her time to process her circumstance and plan her exist strategy.


In 2018, when she still abroad, one of her friends from Nigeria called her out of the blue. They hadn’t spoken in a while and her friend seemed concerned. She told her Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo had called her to ask for X’s number, that he didn’t have it anymore and he had been trying to reach her. At this point, X hadn’t told no one about what had happened to her, and couldn’t explain that she hadn’t wanted her to give the pastor her number. 10 minutes later, Pastor Fatoyinbo would call her, conciliatory. He was somewhere in America, she didn’t have his number but caller ID put his location at Colorado.

‘I know you are angry with me,’

He didn’t bother to clarify, because they both knew what he was talking about. They had spent months without communication and his surprise call and the apology that would follow rang of dishonesty. He refused to address thealleged rape directly, instead vaguely referencing the act and repeating that X ‘knew his heart’. As soon as the call was over, she realised a couple of her other friends from Nigeria were calling her to tell her about a public post singer, Timi Dakolo had made in Nigeria, accusing an Abuja pastor of sexual misconduct. It didn’t take much to connect Fatoyinbo’s call to his Instagram call out, and recognize it for the attempt at damage control that it was. If she had any doubts about Fatoyinbo’s nature, those events completely eliminated them.

It took her a couple of months but she raised her money for her flight back to Nigeria and funds to reintegrate and then sent Fatoyinbo a DM on Instagram about needing to have a work related meeting with him. He called her later, insisting that she find a place where she was alone before they spoke. She informed him that she was ready to move on, She was still a staff of the church, and wanted to leave on good terms. Fatoyinbo conceded but asked that she meet with him when she came back to Nigeria before she made her exit official.

By the time X returned to Nigeria, Timi Dakolo had made his second Instagram post accusing Fatoyinbo of sexual misconduct. She heard about the post but didn’t know the details. Fatoyinbo insisted on the meeting, and ensured she put her phone away before he offered a third vague apology for raping her and mentioned unsolicited, Timi Dakolo’s post, suggesting that Busola had seduced him and ‘something had happened’ but he hadn’t known she was a teenager and he had no idea why she was trying to sabotage his ministry. It made sense to her, her entire life for 8 years until that point had revolved around the church and many of the important people in her life she had met through the church.

‘Is there anything you want me to do for you?’ He asked.

From his tone, she could tell he was suggesting financial compensation as a way to ensure her silence. X had no plans to speak up in that moment, but she also had no interest in taking anything else from him. He insisted that if she changed her mind, she should reach out. She reassured him she wouldn’t and left. Now that she had left the church on good terms, she felt she could finally tell her closest friends about the alleged rape.

She couldn’t bear to have the conversation over and over, so she made a conference call and told her friends in tandem what had happened to her. She needed them to be there for her in the days she could not have been there for herself. She wanted to be the girl who was bold, who took down the bad guy, but there were so many other people in the story, people who would question the validity of her story because of her proximity to the Fatoyinbo family, people on the internet who would reduce her pain to funny gifs. She was convinced that if her friends knew, that would be enough for her.

But Busola Dakolo coming forward to talk about her experience with Pastors Biodun and Modele Fatoyinbo brought a number of things into stark focus for her. First, that there was a pattern where Modele either deliberately or inadvertently drew young women into her orbit and groomed them into a complacency that Biodun Fatoyinbo allegedly exploited to allegedly rape and sexually assault them. Second, there were pastors who were aware of the violence and exploitation that Fatoyinbo was accused of wreaking and either kept quiet about it or enabled it. He called them ‘The COZA 12’, pastors and religious leaders within and outside the church to which Fatoyinbo publicly defers to. Third, she had to tell her story and free herself of the burden of shame.

X had devoted her life to COZA from 2009 to 2018, and suffered for it. To truly free herself of its hold, she had to speak her truth.


This post first appeared on YNaija

Pastors Videos

“The Bible is not silent about Rape!” – Tony Rapu

A lot has been said and unsaid about rape and other forms of sexual abuse in the past week. Pastor Tony Rapu of The House of Freedom says “the scriptures reveal the mind of God on this issue.” Watch the short video below:

Busola Videos

The Y!TV Exclusive With Busola Dakolo On Being Sexually Assaulted By Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo

The interview is paraphrased for clarity. To watch the full interview and hear Busola Dakolo tell the story herself, see video below:

This is Busola’s first time of publicly speaking about her experience with Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.


Busola Dakolo was born and lived most of her early life in Ilorin. The first time she left Ilorin was for secondary school at Suleja and that time away allowed her really find her Christianity. She joined the Gifted School Academy Suleja’s fellowship of Christian students, rose to become its vice-president and embraced a conservative approach to Christianity, growing to become distrustful of churches and fellowships that tried to copy worldly trends as a way to reach people outside the church. She returned home for the holidays to find that her sisters had started attending a non-denominational ‘youth club’ that embraced all kinds of people and focused on worship and fellowship over doctrine and legalism. It took a while but  her sisters convinced her to go by telling her she needed to meet different kinds of people, especially former prostitutes and cultists that have given their lives to Christ thanks to the club’s ministrations.

Busola reluctantly joined her sisters for the youth club, but she wasn’t comfortable there, partly because of the way they worshipped and because she was the youngest person there. After the service, there was a first timers call, and Busola stood up and introduced herself, explaining her initial skepticism and how their worship had changed her mind about the club. After the service, the pastor of the club, a much younger Biodun Fatoyinbo came looking for her after the service.

Pastor Biodun wasn’t yet married ( though he was engaged to his current wife) and the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) wasn’t yet a church, it was called Divine Delight Club.

He expressed his surprise at how bold she was for someone so young and encouraged her to keep speaking up for herself. He also managed to convince her to sing at their next meeting before she left back for school. To sell this idea, he offered to personally rehearse with her, mentioning that he played the keyboard. This was before mobile phones and internet, so Busola’s sister had to take her to Fatoyinbo, who was living with his parents at the time.

Though Busola remembers the song they rehearsed, their rehearsal was uneventful, and at the next meeting she performed, her performance moving enough that a former cultist who was attending the club public renounced his past and embraced Christianity. After, the members of the club affirmed her and Fatoyinbo convinced her through gifts of books and cassette tapes to keep attending their club when she was back home from school.

Returning to school and the more conservative worship environment she was used to was harder than she had anticipated. For the rest of her secondary school year, she struggled with guilt, shuffling between her role in the conservative Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) and the more liberal world of Fatoyinbo’s COZA. She felt she was living a dual life. Eventually she graduated and returned home to find that Divine Delight Club had grown into a church headed by Fatoyinbo, and her sisters had convinced her family to join the church. It felt like the only option she had to join as well.


Busola had embraced conservatism because she’d grown up in a polygamous family and she wanted some control over her own life in service of something bigger than herself. Her father was largely absent in her life, traveling for work and her mother had tried to shield them from the financial difficulty that came with parenting her and her sisters alone but she saw and it affected her deeply. Conservative Christianity gave her purpose and the structure she desperately craved. She joined the choir at COZA as a way to integrate into the church and rid herself of the discomfort she felt towards the church. Being in the choir made her visible and eventually Fatoyinbo would take an interest in her, inviting himself to her home under the guise of getting to know her better.

The first time he visited, he asked if she’d join him on an errand run. Her mother was concerned but didn’t really push when Busola insisted that she wanted to go. They drove in his white Mercedes Benz and finally spoke for the first time. Though she was normally guarded around men, Fatoyinbo was charming, using his knowledge of her family and the absence of her father to gain her trust. Before long, he was visiting the house regularly, engaging her in ways her unavoidably distant sisters weren’t.

Then one morning, Fatoyinbo showed up at her house unannounced. It was a Monday morning early enough that Busola Dakolo was still in her nightgown. Her mother had traveled with her sisters and were absent at service the previous sunday. He didn’t say a word, forcing her onto a chair, speaking only to command her to do as he said. It took Busola a while to come to terms with what was about to happen, and it was why she didn’t struggle or make a fuss when he pulled down her underwear and allegedly raped her. She remembers he didn’t say anything after, left to his car, returned with a bottle of Krest and forced her to drink it, probably as some crude contraceptive. She remembers him saying:

“You should be happy that a man of God did this to you.”

At this time, his wife had just given birth to their first child, Oluwashindara.


Busola spoke up because her husband, the singer Timi Dakolo put up a social media post on Instagram accusing Nigerian clergy of condoning rape and sexual assault. People had approached him anonymously about Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo targeting underage girls for sexual relationships and he felt obligated to publicly speak up on their behalf. His posts had created intense backlash and support and sparked rumours about who the subject of his post was and who the victims were. This wasn’t the first time Timi Dakolo had spoken up about sexual assault and he was aware of what had happened to her from the beginning of their relationship.

What motivated her to speak up about her alleged rape was a social media post from an anonymous account that had insinuated that she had been promiscuous as a teenager and had affairs with pastors when she lived in Ilorin and questioned the paternity of her children.

The reality was, rather than the fabricated promiscuous teenager, Busola Dakolo was an isolated girl, terrified of Fatoyinbo whose salvation story heavily featured his past as a cult member. She was too terrified to tell her sisters or mother about his violence, stewing in silence for a week. Her sisters were active in the church, and to avoid suspicion she followed them to church the next Sunday. She remembers he spoke about grace during the service and after, Modele Fatoyinbo asks that she come to help her with her new baby, something she had never done before. It was normal for church members to come serve at the pastor’s house so her sisters allayed her protests.

Feeling she had no options, she went to her pastor’s house, Fatoyinbo tried to isolate her later that night from his wife and their daughter by insisting she slept in the family’s guest room. She managed to thwart his plans, appealing to the pastor’s wife to let her sleep in their master bedroom.

“No one ignores me.”

He would tell her this the next morning, smacking her butt. It was an ominous enough statement that Busola became apprehensive and tried to leave for her house once it was past twilight. It was the first of many threats she would get from the flamboyant pastor. Fatoyinbo would insist on dropping her off at home, even though she protested several times. Instead of dropping her off at the junction as he had promised, he detoured, driving her away from safety and towards a secluded spot. He threatened her the entire drive, making proclamations about how he owned her and how he was angry that he had thwarted her the night before. He opened the car, pulled her out of the passenger seat and allegedly raped her a second time in the space of a week. First behind the car, then moving her to the bonnet for ease of access.

She didn’t fight, she had lost all her will to. She’d protected her virginity for so long that having it forcefully taken this way broke her. He guided back into the car when he was done, and told her he loved her, speaking of how he’d told his pastors that men of God raped women, that there was nothing special about what he did. He dropped her off outside her home as though everything was normal. She bathed immediately after and didn’t leave her room for three days, but while her siblings were worried about her, no one made any connections between her sudden mood and her married pastor. Busola’s family was a ‘church family’, a family so involved in church activities that their home was routinely used as a hostel for visiting ministers and guests of the church. Fatoyinbo had exploited that, and did it again when he showed up the next Sunday, to ask why she hadn’t gone to church that Sunday. She was afraid of drawing attention to herself, so she went to church the next Sunday, and kept going, even though she left the choir and began to voice her dissent towards Fatoyinbo.


A dream was the catalyst for Busola opening up for the first time about Fatoyinbo raping her. Her elder sister had relocated to Lagos, and she pleaded to visit, drained from avoiding the pastor. In Lagos, her sister who she believes has the Sight, told her about a dream she had had, where she’d seen Busola crying, blood on a chair and Fatoyinbo smiling. She asked her pointedly, breaking months of silence and starting a flood of admissions about the alleged rape and everything that had happened. Her sister convinced her to return to Ilorin and together they told her other sisters and her brother, who was studying at the University of Ilorin. Her brother flew into a rage, grabbing a pocket knife and taking her to Fatoyinbo’s house. He was able to intercept them before they reached his house, and together with Wole Soetan, who she suggests is now the pastor of the COZA Portharcourt branch, convince them to return home and that Fatoyinbo would follow.

The pastor and two of his church members would eventually come to pacify her family, blaming the devil and Soetan even promising to leave the church to show how little tolerance he had for promiscuity. After Soetan would confide in Busola that he couldn’t leave the church because he felt Fatoyinbo was ‘weak’ and needed spiritual guidance and support. He convinced her siblings to keep the alleged rape and assault from her mother.  Numb to all emotion, Busola pretended to concede and after two weeks of constant visitation from the pastors and the unspoken implication that Fatoyinbo was an alleged reformed cultist with a lot to lose if news of her alleged rape went public, she returned to the church to protect her family and project normalcy. It was clear to her at this point that she would never feel comfortable within organized religion.

Fatoyinbo continued to target Busola in the intervening months, organizing prayer sessions and specialized deliverance sessions with guest pastors to help ‘repair’ her ‘bondage’ and suggesting to her that the violence he had meted towards her was a problem they both had in common and needed communal deliverance, Busola would find out that Fatoyinbo had been telling church members that she wasn’t ready for a relationship when the pastor’s cousin befriended her. Their time would eventually develop into a relationship and she would confide in him about what had happened to her.

With his help, she would leave the church and join another congregation.

This post first appeared on YNaija