The unexpected return of a Nigerian pastor, Biodun Fatoyinbo, after a rape allegation recently, is causing a lot of outrage in Nigeria.
The flamboyant pastor, who was accused of rape twice by Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer, returned to the pulpit for the first time in a month.
Fatoyinbo was forced to step aside recently as social media outrage intensified following allegations made by Dakolo, who is also the wife of popular musician, Timi Dakolo, that the pastor raped her about 20 years ago.
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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) – the umbrella organisation of Christian churches and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) – and the police opened investigations into the alleged crime, however, no conclusion has been made till date.
In a sermon delivered on his first day of return titled, “Sudden Victories”, Pastor Biodun was quoted by the Punch saying, “As a Christian, you must face opposition. If God, who is holy and faithful has enemies, you are sure going to have.”
Pastor Biodun told his followers on Sunday that Christians face persecution, but God would ensure that they are victorious.
Some members of a group protesting against his return in the COZA church in Abuja questioned why Pastor Biodun returned before the end of the investigations.
“He has clearly shown he doesn’t care about what his colleagues think… now what are they [CAN and PFN] going to do – silence as consent or action?” Yemi Adamolekun, spokesperson of the Not in My Church movement, asked in an interview with the BBC.
Women’s rights activist Laila St Matthew-Daniel also criticised Pastor Biodun’s return to the pulpit.
“For someone answering to a rape allegation, he should have stayed away. His attitude is not strange in this country where impunity reigns. Sex and domestic violence offenders constantly pull strings and go scot-free,” she said.
In a statement in July, Pastor Biodun said he was “absolutely innocent”, but had decided to step down from the church after seeking “spiritual counsel” from Christian leaders around the world.
These are some reactions from Twitter as people criticized his return:
ANOTHER REMINDER THAT PASTOR BIODUN FATOYINBO IS AN ABUSER AND A RAPIST.
THANK YOU FOR NOT FORGETTING.
IF YOU’RE THINKING OF INSULTING ME AS A RESPONSE TO THIS, INSULT YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER INSTEAD, OTHERWISE, I’LL INSULT THEM FOR YOU.
— Chimabiala ‘Lulu | (@gboukzi) August 6, 2019
Pastor Biodun is back in charge. Seems he felt we have all moved on in our usual fashion.
Till the next social media scandal breaks……..As you were folks ??
— Jeffrey (@JeffreyHustle) August 5, 2019
— TheSheet TV/Thesheet.ng (@thesheetng) August 5, 2019
Nigerian women: pastor biodun is a rapist because he has raped— Mö stallion? (@ollylovesocean) August 4, 2019
Christian association of Nigeria: pic.twitter.com/ZiLNgGO8Vp
— Muso Pole? (@themusopole) August 6, 2019
Pastor Biodun is not my problem, its those still going to Coza. Are u people mentally sound?— Ske (@fraulinemarian) August 5, 2019
Rev. Israel Akanji, the North-Central Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has stated that God will restore Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo even if he is found guilty of the rape allegation
— Ifemidayo⚪️ (@IFM4real) July 31, 2019
Everyone should hear this, if you like kill Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, that I know you can’t even do. We are #COZA for life. Some people can’t just handle your decision and respect it. They just get bitter whenever they hear COZA.— Aghedo (@AghedoOsarenren) August 4, 2019