After a long silence, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Wednesday finally released a statement concerning the allegation of rape leveled against the senior pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, by a professional photographer, Busola Dakola.
The statement, signed by CAN’s National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Barrister Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, was confusing.
It started by claiming that Busola Dakolo made a “confessional statement.” That’s strange. A confessional statement is made by an accused person admitting that (s)he committed a crime. Dakolo was the victim, so she couldn’t have confessed. Since the statement was signed by a lawyer, we can hardly chalk it up to ignorance.
COZA is not a part of CAN: “The association recognises that COZA, to the best of our knowledge, is not a member of any of the families that belong to CAN.”
Downplaying rape: CAN admitted that there have been recurrent allegations of rape and infidelity against some gospel ministers and other Christians as well. Then it attempted to lump rape with other kinds of “immoral relationships.”
Empathy for Fatoyinbo’s family: CAN said it is “deeply concerned for the families of Pastor Fatoyinbo and other pastors accused, for whom this period must be one of great pain. May God grant justice to all and vindicate all who are innocent.” This empathy for Fatoyinbo’s family, especially his little kids, is fair but…
No empathy for the victims and their families: No where in the CAN statement did it show “deep concern” for the Dakolo family and other Christians (and non-Christians) who are alleged victims of rape. Instead its concern and understanding was reserved for “preachers who, by virtue of their position as parents of all in the church, may stand the danger of being accused.”
Avoid blackmail: Keeping in line with its concern for preachers, CAN appealed “to all Christians to avoid blackmail against any brother or sister in the church for whatever reason. All of us must avoid making ourselves vulnerable”.
Security agencies should do their jobs: CAN called on “security agents to get to the roots of the matter”, and it “urged all ministers of the Gospel to shun all appearances of evil especially unregulated closeness to church members so as to avoid scandals.”