Nigerian celebrities have virtually set controversial Abuja-based Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion (COZA) on fire after Busola Dakolo, wife of sensational soul singer, Timi Dakolo, alleged that the clergyman raped her twice as a teenager.
The mother of three and celebrity photographer made the shocking revelation in an interview with Chude Jideonwo, a Nigerian lawyer and journalist published on Friday by YNaija channel.
According to her, she was a 16-year-old in the Divine Delight Club at Ilorin, Kwara State; the precursor to Fatoyinbo’s Commonwealth of Zion Assembly when she said was groomed and raped by the pastor.
Dakolo explained that as a member of the church, she was raped at two different times in a week by the pastor, adding that she lost her virginity to him before she turned 18. She alleged that the pastor raped her for the first time at her parent’s home and at another time in a secluded road path.
“Fatoyinbo showed up at our house unannounced early on a Monday morning and I was still in my nightgown, as my mother had travelled with my sisters and were absent at service the previous Sunday. Immediately I opened the door , he just pushed me, he didn’t say anything, he didn’t utter any word, he just pushed me to one of the chairs in my living room.”
“I saw him, he was removing his belt, he just said: ‘keep quiet, do what I want you to do and you will be fine.’ He didn’t say anything after, left to his car, returned with a bottle of Krest (a soft drink) and forced me to drink it, probably as some crude contraceptive.”
She also said he told her, ‘You should be happy that a man of God did this to you.’
“I have kept quiet over the years. I had to come out to say this because another narrative was being said”, she added.
Dakolo said she spoke up because her husband put up a social media post on Instagram, accusing the Nigerian clergy of condoning rape and sexual assault.
This revelation comes after her husband, Timi, recently called out the pastor over his alleged sexual relationship with female church members, encouraging other victims who have gone through the experience to speak up.
Timi’s posts however generated mixed reactions, with intense backlash, and evoked rumours about who the subject of his post was and who the victims were.
In 2013, the clergy popularly called “Gucci Pastor,” because of his flamboyant fashion style, was also entangled in an allegation of infidelity with one Ese Walter, a former member of the church.
Walter, now married, had set social media ablaze after she alleged in a blog post that she had a week-long sexual relationship with the pastor during a visit to London.
Walter, however admitted that her romance with Fatoyinbo was consensual, but said she felt “abused and manipulated” by him and the passive manner the church’s leadership handled the issue after she complained.
Flurry of anger
Some Nigerian celebrities showing support for Busola Dakolo include Rita Dominic, Banky W, Kate Henshaw, DonJazzy, Mercy Johnson Okojie, Uche Jombo, Toke Makinwa and many others.
Nollywood actress, Rita Dominic thanked Busola Dakolo for having the courage to speak up. She stated that many girls and women have gone through this in silence as those who spoke up were derided and abused. According to Dominic, “We support you Busola. We love you and we will stand by you. Hold your head high sister. Hold your head high. We are with you. I hope this encourages us all to be just as brave as you.”
For singer Banky Wellington, he said that the video was so hard to watch. He apologized to Dakolo for going through the nightmare. He stated how proud he is of her for sharing her truth. Wellington said Dakolo didn’t speak up for herself alone, but for all the voiceless victims who have suffered similar horrors at the hands of predators. “We are standing by you and Timi Dakolo. God bless, protect and strengthen you. Stay strong. You are incredible. Unbroken, unchained. I stand with Busola, he added.”
Destiny Amaka is another celebrity who expressed her support for Busola Dakolo in the wake of her rape allegation against Pastor Fatoyinbo. She said that Dakolo is the face of courage and thanked her for sharing her story. She also thanked Timi Dakolo for standing by his wife. She prayed that God continues to heal places humans aren’t able to see or reach. She said: “Thank you for using your voice to set so many more free. This is spiritual manipulation. Say no to rape. I stand with Busola. Nigeria is changing.”
In the same vein, Nollywood actress Kate Henshaw said “courage is not the absence of fear, it is facing your truth, standing tall and speaking out in spite of it. I love you Busola Dakolo. You don’t know how many you have given strength to. I stand with you. You are a strong woman.”
Nazo Ekeziel said that Nigerians must get rid of religious impunity while reacting to Busola Dakolo’s interview. He said that he remembers vividly when they gave their lives to Christ and dedicated everything to God, sang in choir, went for workers meeting, and attended foundation school.
Ezekiel said that at that point in their lives, they sat under the teaching and counsel of Pastor Fatoyinbo about four to five times a week, and at some point, the pastors started to look like God in their eyes. They considered them spotless and called them father.
“So yes, it’s possible to not fight such men when they attempt to rape and abuse you. It’s also possible to try to forgive them because of God and move on like nothing happened but most importantly, the fear of judgment cripples women from speaking up”, he added. According to him, “we must get rid of the religious immunity we have granted to them and speak the truth about these so called Pastors and religious leaders. They are scaring our women and men and children and getting away with it.”
Music producer Don Jazzy also declared his support for Busola Dakolo. In his post, he said: “Busola Dakolo, thank you for being a voice for the many women that don’t have the courage to speak out yet. It is important we let our mothers, sisters, and daughters know that you cannot be bullied for speaking the truth. I stand with Busola.”
Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson Okojie noted that Busola sharing her story is victory. She noted that “there are so many scars but this is a victory to defeat the voice and the hand that tried to silence her.” Okojie said that “this is marriage, to share a love so deep that it becomes a source of strength in the deepest pain. God bless you both, Timi Dakolo and Busola Dakolo. I stand with you at this time and always. You are such an example to every relationship.”
For another Nollywood actress Belinda Effah, “it is so bad that some people will ask why she is speaking up now. Some silly person comes up with a stupid allegation of Busola Dakolo having a child out of wedlock and so? There is something called consent. If she says no it means no, it means no.”
According to her, “if she likes B and decides to give to B and not to A, it’s her choice. When she says no and you forcefully take it, it is called rape. Learn to respect a woman’s body. Should we even be having this conversation? It’s so sad how we have lost our morals. Respect is reciprocal. If you are highly placed in the society, it doesn’t give you room to take advantage of others. There is something called the law. It’s doesn’t matter how long it takes, it will come after you.”
For screen diva, Uche Jombo, rape is an issue to be tackled. She focused on the healing process and stated that “Busola Dakolo can speak out anytime she chooses, whatever time or year that’s she feels comfortable to speak, so people should face the rape issue.”
Jombo stated that people should stop asking rape victims why it took them years to speak. “A woman can be a baby mama, a working girl, a sex worker whatever label you want to call her, at the end of the day rape is rape, make no mistake about that.”
For Toke Makinwa, Dakolo’s pain is not in vain. She stated that all she sees is a strong, black woman who beats the odds to survive the horror and nightmare of abuse. Makinwa said: “Thank you for speaking out, thank you for unlocking the door for others to do the same. Your pain is not in vain. Your pain will break the chains for other people who are in the dark. Well done. You are beautiful, I applaud your courage. I salute you for doing this.”
She called on Nigerians to stand in Busola’s shoes and speak out against injustice. She said that the perpetrator must face the law. “To watch your abuser daily go on unrepentant is the worst thing that anyone can imagine and Busola Dakolo needs justice. Let the system work this time. God will mend your broken heart. God will heal your soul and protect you.
“Timi Dakolo, God bless you for standing and speaking out even when you faced heavy criticism. Thank you for being strong for your other half, this hurts so much, and I pray we get justice. If we don’t fight now, we have failed all the victims. We have silenced the voices that need to be heard too.”
Ini dima Okojie also added her voice to the issue. She called Busola Dakolo the face of bravery and appreciated her for having the courage to speak up and tell her truth. She imagined how difficult it was for her to do this but assured her that she is not alone. She hopes this gives other victims that have been suffering in silence the strength to speak up.
Popular singer Simi stated that it was visible how shaken Busola Dakolo was reliving what happened to her. “I pray sharing this truth relieves you of this burden.” She enjoined the supporters of Pastor Fatoyinbo to serve God but not follow any man blindly. She said: “Ask questions. If it feels wrong, don’t ignore it. If you see something, talk! I stand with Busola Dakolo.”
I have never raped before –Pastor Fatoyinbo
Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of the Commonwealth of Zion church has declared that he is innocent of the rape allegations made against him by Busola Dakolo, wife of popular singer, Timi Dakolo.
In a public statement shared on his Instagram page, he said, he had never raped anyone in his life, not even as an unbeliever.He captioned the statement: “I have NEVER RAPED before, not even as an unbeliever!”
Part of the statement reads, “I am aware that there has been a recent media publication on YouTube by YNaija operated and owned by RED Media Group which shows an interview by Chude Jideonwo with Busola Dakolo.
“Prior to now, we had adhered to our policy of ignoring rumours from social media accounts as we knew that several statements had been made to extort the church of money and myself through blackmail, harassment and intimidation. We have refused time and again to accede to their request, which has infuriated them over time, because of this they have gotten more aggressive.
“Unlike previous statements where innuendos were used and there was no direct mention of myself or the Church, the recent video released on YouTube has now made direct criminal allegations against me in the interview granted by Busola Dakolo which are fallacious, non-existent and which are all denied in every measure. As an individual and as a Church, we love and support people and we would never condone any form of abuse, harassment, or intimidation of anyone. I have never in my life raped anybody, even as an unbeliever and I’m absolutely innocent of this.
“Busola Dakolo who has made this false allegation and her family attended the church during the early start of the church in Ilorin in 1999. I never had any private interactions with her beyond my pastoral duties. Looking at her status and that of her husband, I am dumbfounded why she would say such a thing.
“As expected under the ethics of Journalism, it would have been expected that I should be confronted with these false allegations prior to any publication, instead of resorting to the social media with the intent to ruin my reputation and bring down the church.”
According to the statement, “We will also not stand for criminal allegations made against me or the church. The leadership of the church and I have briefed our lawyers to commence criminal and civil actions against all individuals making such false allegations whether directly or by proxy. We will as a church pursue every measure within the ambits of the law to bring the culprits to justice. We are heard and will not be surprised to see more of such allegations by people who have been paid to continue in this line of blackmail, harassment and extortion, including those who may have been dismissed from their duties in the church on disciplinary grounds.
“To all our members, and those supporting God’s work, I want to assure you that we will fight this and the Lord will vindicate us. This has always been intended to attack the church, this is the intent of the adversary; the intent is to destroy the church, so please stay focused and prayerful. God bless you. I celebrate you.”