Following the dismissal of the court case against Abiodun Fatoyinbo, the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), who was accused of rape by celebrity Busola Dakolo, a civil rights activist, Israel Joe, has urged both sides to reconcile.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had discharged the allegations on the grounds that there were no circumstantial evidence to establish that a rape had occurred, with the presiding judge, Justice Oathman Musa, fining Dakolo N1 million as compensation to Fatoyinbo, holding that the case amounted to an abuse of the judicial process.
Related: Court dismisses Dakolo’s case against Fatoyinbo, COZA pastor
Reviewing the anticlimactic judgement in a statement made available to reporters in Warri, the civil rights activist noted that the case has highlighted the difficulty in securing justice for rape victims, especially in the Nigerian judicial system that places a substantial burden on victims to prove their case.
“As an activist who specialises in dealing with rape, defilement and violence against women, I knew the extant laws have no place for verbal testimonies to the aforementioned cases in our society.
“It is easier to say and difficult to prove especially without medical examinations and doctor’s report.
“Justice Oathman Musa held that the case amounted to an abuse of judicial process, empty and purely sentimental.
“In his ruling; ‘the Justice held that the case was aimed at cruelty than obtaining justice’, adding that it was hinged on this he dismissed the case in favour of Mr Biodun Fatoyinbo with a million naira fine leveled against Busola Dakolo.
“Following the case keenly, it is obvious Busola Dakolo may end in jail if the man of God decided to press charges of criminal defamation against her and her husband.
“I don’t know who advised the couple to the level they went, but certainly what had happened more than a decade ago without evidence and proof shouldn’t attract this sort of media attention.
“If not the revered and stylish manner Mr Biodun goes about his ministry attracting envy and jealousy from many of his pulpit contemporaries.
“Beyond the acrobatic exhilarated comfort of many ministers of the gospel is the envious quest to bring Mr Biodun down. It is not strange how pastors try to dig out for themselves in line with unhealthy competition and struggles for platform which the minister already has.
“The calmness of this man during this saga, ranging from defaming his image to taking leave of absence to subjecting himself to court process, tells much about his person. He has become more popular than the anticipated cruelty sought by his accusers.
“Actually, it became crystal clear in correlation with the phrase used by the justice aiming at cruelty than obtaining justice.
“Within the conscience of Busola Dakolo lays the truth (positive or negative), and within the courtroom lays presentation of facts; in between the truth and the fact lays the irony of two extreme viewpoints, both from the Dakolos and Mr Fatoyinbo, excluding the integrity of evidential ruling delivered by the court.
“I sincerely hope that Rev. Biodun Fatoyinbo will commemorate his phrryric victory with execution of forgiveness for the Dakolos which he has preached severally as his standard for living.
“I also wish the Dakolos take solace in the ruling of the court, apologize to Rev. Biodun and move forward with their lives and ministry.”