The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has come under fire for their initial response to the COZA scandal involving Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
Recall that Busola Dakolo spoke out against the Pastor claiming that he raped her twice when she was 16.
Fatoyinbo had reacted stating that he had never raped anybody and that he would be seeking legal redress in the matter.
“I have never raped before, not even as an unbeliever” he captioned his Instagram post which also contained a full statement from his office.
CAN had been reached for comment but at the time, the Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Pastor Oladeji Adebayo had said; “I am sorry CAN does not intervene in how churches are running. Churches belong to denominations and these are the two bodies that regulate how pastors run their ministries, not CAN. CAN deals with intrareligious matters and stands between the church and the government.”
This had drawn criticisms from Nigerians who wanted the Christian body to be more proactive in such cases.
Other prominent Christians have not kept quiet with Fela Durotoye saying in a statement;
“I strongly believe that a thorough and independent investigation can only be in the best interest of everyone concerned as well as in the best interest of the body of Christ and the society at large.
“To be clear, I do not have any desire to be a judge nor do I have the competence to judge such an egregious case but I know this for sure … that serious allegations such as rape deserve to be fully investigated especially where the names of witnesses have been mentioned and their identities revealed in the story.”
“To this end, I call on all leaders in the body of Christ to speak up and demand a thorough investigation of these allegations immediately. With all due respect to all our ‘fathers and mothers of faith’, this is not a time to be silent. This is the time to speak up.
“Now, the scriptures (in Mathew 5:23) provide us with a guide for such a precarious time as this , “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and then remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar first go and be reconciled to them and then come back and offer your gift.”
“Without a doubt, Pastor @BiodunFatoyinbo is a gifted preacher and teacher of God’s Word but, our sister @BusolaDakolo has brought a serious allegation against him. Therefore, in line with the scriptures, it is only appropriate that he leaves his gift (preaching & teaching) at the altar in order to first go and attend to this matter, reconcile with the truth and, if exonerated, then return to the altar to serve God’s people with his gift.
“The scriptures clearly advise that he should take a break and step aside in order for this investigation to be concluded and justice pronounced.”
Also chiming in was Pastor Tony Rapu who claimed that many Christian leaders try to stay away from addressing sexual assault issues as some of them do not feel equipped to handle the complexities involved: Many leaders lack the confidence to address sexual abuse because they do not feel adequately equipped to handle the complexities involved. Others do not have sufficient training to address the challenges sexual or even domestic abuse matters throw up. We need to understand how this issue of sexual abuse can be addressed in the light of the Gospel. he said
CAN have now made a revised statement, stating to the Vanguard, through Rev Samson Ayokunle, the President of the body, that the Christian organization would launch a thorough investigation into the matter.
”We have no details about the matter other than what we are reading and hearing from the social media, and this is not reliable and credible evidence.
”The CAN leadership has reached out to the leadership of the block which the Pastor in question belongs with a view to getting to the root of the matter.
”This will help us to make the right decision on the issue,” he said.