24/Sep/2019

Gentlemen of the Press –

My wife and I have called this press conference because, as a man, I have done what I am supposed to do – I stood by my wife when she decided to go public with her truth. It was not an easy decision but I was raised by my Grandmother – I saw that woman go to heaven and back for me – she used to trek kilometres to go to church to pray for me and sold everything to make sure we ate. From loving my Grandmother, I have a deep respect for women; I took the decision boldly as a man should. I stood for her when she came under attacks from the ill-intentioned members of society. I have fought for her even when I have been abused, lied against and accused of unspeakable things.

As a Father however, I could not have foreseen the events of yesterday when an attempt was made to abduct myself and my wife –FOR TELLING HER TRUTH.

All we have asked is for this matter to be duly investigated. I did not expect that our residential address – where our children live – will be released to the public AND SINCE THEN, I have noted with increasing alarm, how my life, my wife’s life and the lives of our children have been put at risk by unscrupulous persons. We have been followed, our home has been watched, people have been standing in corners pointing fingers at our home – we have been unable to do any work; the children have had to be explained to several times why they cannot go outside and play.

As a Father and as the protector of my home under God, I have decided to come out and speak publicly against the harassment, bullying and maliciousness we have received as law abiding citizens of Nigeria – BECAUSE my wife decided to tell her truth and I decided that I trust her, I believe her and stand by her. I will never leave her side now and I will do my best to protect her. However, the good people of Nigeria, who have shown us so much love, deserve to know what has been happening.

On behalf of my family, I would like to share a few highlights, especially about the attempted abduction of yesterday, Saturday, July 20th, 2019:

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. On Thursday, June 27th, my wife, through her Legal Representative filed a petition with the police in Lagos State about Mr. BiodunFatoyinbo of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) raping her as a minor. The Petition was filed at the Office of the Assistant General of Police, Alagbon, Ikoyi. We had 4 meetings spanning over 6 hours at the Police Station on that day and afterwards, the A.I.G himself personally assigned the file immediately and asked for an expedited action to investigate the case. We decided not to publicise the fact that a case had been filed, as we believed that the law should be allowed to run its full course, undisturbed.
  2. We intentionally filed the police case, following the due process of the law before agreeing for the release of the interview that had been recorded many weeks before. The interview was then released with my wife’s permission, on Friday, June 28th, 2019 by Y!TV.
  3. We have since been to the Police Station in Lagos several times on invite by the Police to respond to various questions in the course of their investigations. WE WERE THEREFORE SHOCKED TO BE INVITED TO ABUJA – WHEN NO VISIBLE ACTION HAD BEEN TAKEN TO INTERVIEW MR. FATOYINBO.
  4. On Thursday, July 4th, Y!TV published another video with a former employee of COZA alleging that Pastor Biodun also raped her. My wife broke down crying as she listened to her interview “There are other women – this recent?!” she kept saying as she cried. What surprised us was how ModeleFatoyinbo, who asked my wife to come and help her look after their newborn child – which is what led to the second rape – is the same person that asked this lady to come and look after her children – again? 15 years after?! It is strange. We do not know this lady, we have still not met her, but we would like to thank her for lending her voice to this truth.
  5. As far as we know, MrFatoyinbo has not been questioned on the strength of my wife’s petition – even after several invitations by the Police that we have honoured. However, we have been invited to go to Abuja to respond to queries on actions that are not crimes known under any Nigerian law – “mischief” and “falsehood” are not crimes; we were not given details of the supposed case, THERE WAS NO ADDRESS FOR THE POLICE INTERVIEW and NO RESPONSE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US ON OUR OWN PETITION THAT HAS BEEN FILED ALMOST A MONTH AGO.
  6. On Wednesday, July 10th, our address was shared online by Kemi Olunloyo in the most careless, reckless and wicked manner. To think she is supposed to be a woman and a mother and had no regard for the safe keep of our children and she has infringed on our Fundamental Human Rights to Personal Dignity and Privacy and is risking the lives of my 3 little children! This was callous! I decided not to engage with her, but I want Nigerians, the Armed Forces, Amnesty International and the good men and women of the Nigeria Police Force to know that SINCE THEN people have been following myself and wife in tinted unmarked cars, TO OUR HOME! AT different times, in the last week we have been trailed. The last event is what happened again yesterday and this time an attempt was made to abduct my wife and I. I had to park our cars and stay indoors. My wife and I have been unable to work and my children have been unable to go out freely even in this holiday period.

 

YESTERDAY’S AMBUSH

  1. Yesterday, Saturday July 20th, 2019 in the early afternoon, I had notice a tinted bus parked near our home. I did not know that at the same time, my wife was being followed by a car into the estate.
  2. She noticed the car and out of fear, parked the car to be sure that her fear was not real – but it was. Every time she parked, the car parked and she decided tshat she should rush home quickly, since she was near the house.
  3. When she got onto the street, she noticed the same bus I had seen earlier and saw that someone from the car that was following her signaled to the bus, at which point 3 ARMED POLICEMEN wearing SARS vests surrounded her car, demanding for her to come down. The door of the bus was open and she saw that the bus was full of armed policemen.
  4. She immediately called her lawyer and when the policemen heard that she was talking to a legal representative, they stepped back and claimed that they were only there to drop a letter; they had not said this before nor shown her the letter.
  5. Before then, they were demanding that I step outside the house. They had also demanded that my wife step out of the car.
  6. The letters the Policemen said they had when they heard us speaking to the lawyer were then presented. We noted that the letters are dated Thursday, July 18th. Why were they being delivered on a Saturday afternoon by a bus full of armed policemen and a car trailing my wife into the estate? Why did they not deliver the letter and leave when neither myself nor my wife were present? And why did they only step back when they became aware that lawyers were involved? These questions have been on my mind. I do not have answers for them.
  7. The letters made no reference to any case or matter and it states that we are being investigated for a case of falsehood and mischief – two offenses that are not known in law.
  8. In the police’s press release yesterday, they claim a Police Invitation Letter is “… a polite investigative tool used in eliciting information voluntarily from parties to aid in police investigation.” If they were just delivering a letter, the manner in which they intentionally tried to instill fear, intimidate us with guns and insist on our coming to their bus – was neither polite nor trustworthy.
  9. How is the Nigeria Police pursuing justice when Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, who is the accused in my wife’s matter, is not being treated in this manner but the authorities I expect to pursue justice are attempting to intimidate myself and my wife?
  10. My children were at home!!!! They could also have been in their mother’s car!!!
  11. We have never threatened anyone on our lives. Rather, we are now the ones who feel threatened. That is why we have Falana&Falana Chambers representing us and they have reported this matter to the police.
  12. We receive the information from our lawyers, Falana&Falana Chambers, this morning that both our petition and the petition of Mr Biodun Fatoyinbo will be moved to Lagos. We acknowledge the effort of the Nigeria Police to ensure that our confidence in their impartiality, professionalism & good sense in this case is not shaken.

 

NEXT STEPS

  1. We are grateful for the outpouring of love and support we continue to receive from Nigerians at home and abroad. We acknowledge the online support of the First Lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari.
  2. We will not be intimidated. We are determined to get justice and ensure the church is a safe space for boys and girls.
  3. If they can intimidate my wife and I who have some level of public goodwill, what will happen to Amaka in Maitama who knows no one and has no one to speak for her?

 

For any additional information, please visit www.notinmychurch.ng.


24/Sep/2019

VISIT OF SOLIDARITY TO COMMONWEALTH ZION ASSEMBLY ( COZA): CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION ASSOCIATION KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT IT

The attention of the President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Samson O. A. Ayokunle has been called to a report and a video clip going round that Christian Association of Nigeria has sent her officials to Commonwealth of Zion Assembly(COZA) Church to stand by the Senior Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo on the rape allegation against him.

This message is to categorically inform the Christian leaders, the general public and all lovers of truth that CAN or the President of CAN did not approve and knows nothing about such a solidarity visit.

Those who did so did it on their own. We stand by our earlier release on this issue that while we would never support any act of immorality from whatever quarter, we would not jump into passing judgement without thorough investigation of the matter.

The President of CAN is in communication with the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude and has given the right to investigate the allegations to PFN and then revert to CAN. We can tell you that PFN has already constituted a panel that is investigating this matter and in less than two weeks, the outcome of the investigation will come out. We urge all our Christian brothers and sisters to know that this is the position of CAN. We would not spare anyone who is found wanting from facing appropriate disciplinary measures.

We appreciate sincerely the prayers and support of the Christians and all peace loving Nigerians for the Church and the nation.

Evangelist Barrister Kwamkur Samuel Vondip
National Director of Legal and Public Affairs,
Christian Association of Nigeria.
15th July, 2019


24/Sep/2019

Following rape allegations brought against Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) minister, Biodun Fatoyinbo, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has made a decision to investigate all claims against the pastor. This is the first time in the history of the body that this has been done.

In a letter sent to Timi Dakolo last week, the Christian umbrella body communicated that it has constituted a committee to look into circumstances surrounding the serious allegations made against the pastor by photographer and mother of three, Busola Dakolo.

The committee which has Rev. Wilson Badejo as Chairman, with Bishop Vincent Iyawe and Rev. Collins Ilechukwu as members, is tasked with the responsibility to establish the veracity of the claims and recommend appropriate sanctions where necessary.

In light of this, advocacy group, Not In My Church, which has helped to share the viral stories of survivors and kickstart a national conversation, encourages all those who have suffered the same fate by the COZA minister to speak up and share their stories while offering them access to professional counselling.

It is expected that beyond this committee, PFN and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) will have a publicly accessible Code of Conduct and a standing committee to review issues of abuse of power that lead to sexual abuse and other types of abuse in the church. The movement is convinced that the church’s commitment towards accountability must extend beyond rhetoric and incorporate processes that emphasize the idea that no one in the church is above reproach, and provides opportunities for anyone, no matter their status, to have their voices heard.

Not In My Church demands include the following:

  1. The accused steps down from the pulpit for 6 months – 5 years, depending on the gravity of the offence, during which he cannot preach on any other pulpit, or until a conclusion of a legal process.
  2. The accused and their spouse take a leave of absence from the Board of Trustees of the church for as long as they are off the pulpit.
  3. The accused apologizes publicly – specifically to those whose allegations are in the public domain and generally to others that have been sexually abused or otherwise by virtue of their position as a pastor.
  4. The accused enrolls in a sexual abuse programme at a globally reputed centre.
  5. Sufficient monetary compensation for psychological, medical, legal and economic losses accrued to survivors.

Victims of rape, especially in religious organizations, can reach out to the movement for help and support through Not in my church’s website, www.notinmychurch.ng.

#NotInMyChurch