The police in Abuja have said they would require a formal complaint of wrongdoing against the pentecostal preacher, Biodun Fatoyinbo, who is accused of rape, before they could take criminal action against him.
Police commissioner Bala Ciroma told newsmen on Saturday that the police usually require complaints from victims or witnesses or both to proceed with rape charges.
“They should file a formal complaint,” Mr Ciroma said. “And then the police can see how to proceed from there.”
Mr Fatoyinbo, the founder and senior preacher of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), has been a subject of public derision since Friday morning when a video interview in which a woman, Busola Dakolo, accused him of raping her, was published online.
Mrs Dakolo, wife of musician Timi Dakolo, told YNaija that she was only 16 when Mr Fatoyinbo came to her family residence in Ilorin and raped her, deflowering her in the process.
Mrs Dakolo, now mother of three, said the first encounter happened on a morning when Mr Fatoyinbo knocked on the door of her family home in Ilorin. The family had been a long time member of COZA, and they saw Mr Fatoyinbo as a diligent and decent figure.
“Immediately I opened the door, he just pushed me, he did not say anything, he did not utter any word, he just pushed me to one of the chairs in my living room,” Mrs Dakolo told YNaija.
“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,’” Mrs Dakolo said.
Mrs Dakolo said Mr Fatoyinbo told her after the alleged rape that she should be grateful that it was a man of God who did that to her.
She said the preacher raped her the second time within the same week on a deserted road.
She also narrated several unwanted sexual encounters that followed the first incident, all of which she said she had carried as a burden for several years. She said she recently found the confidence to publicly tell her story.
Mrs Dakolo’s allegation came six years after Mr Fatoyinbo faced allegations of sexual misconduct and adultery from two women, including Ese Walters. The two other women did not accuse Mr Fatoyinbo of raping them, and they also largely avoided confronting him unlike Mrs Dakolo.
Mr Fatoyinbo pushed back against the allegations on Friday, saying in an official church statement that he had never raped a woman “even as an unbeliever.”
The pastor threatened a lawsuit against Mrs Dakolo and others he accused of defaming his character, adding that many of the sexual misconduct claims he had faced over the years had come from scorned women within his ministry.
Nigerians have expressed enormous support for the Dakolos for their courage, and calls for Mr Fatoyinbo’s arrest and prosecution have also intensified on social media.
But the police are now asking for the victims to come forward with complaints.
It was not immediately clear whether the Dakolos have reported the matter to the police.
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Saturday condemned any case of rape in “strong terms”, saying it does not matter who is involved.
Samson Ayokunle, the president of CAN, who gave the condemnation via a text message to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), stressed that justice must prevail in all rape cases.
Mr Ayokunle described rape as “ungodly, wicked and reprehensible.”
He, however, noted that CAN had no details on the trending allegations against the founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Abiodun Fatoyinbo.
Mr. Fatoyinbo has been the subject of public derision since Friday morning when a video interview in which a woman, Busola Dakolo, accused him of raping her, was published online.