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‘Police harassing, intimidating Fatoyinbo’

A group, Social Justice League (SJL), has urged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security agencies to stop harassing and intimidating the Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, over preliminary investigation into the allegation of rape leveled against him by Mrs. Bukola Dakolo.

The group stated that it has been monitoring the controversial issues and the Police handling of the case, cautioning the outfit should not make itself willing tools in the hands of external influences to pervert justice.

SJL also warned that it has found out details of the big pastors behind the ordeal of Pastor Fatoyinbo, warning them to desist from “their egoistic and evil ways fueled by jealousy and envy, it would soon expose them for the whole world to know the true identities of those behind the pulpit masks.”

In a statement by the Director of the organisation, Dr. Atta Ogah and Secretary, Barrister Bitrus Godwin, the group observed: “Rape allegation is a very serious matter that should not be glossed over; however, no one should be treated as if he or she is already guilty during and after investigation until a court of competent jurisdiction gives its final verdict on the matter strictly on law”.

The group scolded the security agency for what it described as a partisan approach in its investigation of the accused saying that:

“The Police appear to have compromised, or else, why should they subject the Pastor to humiliation by searching his house in Abuja for an offence allegedly committed in Ilorin 18 or 20 uncertain years ago? Why should his international passport be seized? That he will run away?”

According to the group: “We are surprised that the complainant (Bukola) appears to be enjoying preferential treatment in the hands of the Police for a rather strange reason. Under normal circumstances, this is not supposed to be so,” the group stated.

According to the statement, the organisation which is made up of lawyers and human rights defenders with total dedication and commitment to fighting for human and social justice rights of every Nigerian is deeply worried by the antics of the police and other security agencies.

For instance, the group flayed the anti-graft for unlawful trespass by raiding and searching the premises of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) asking “What were they looking for? Evidences of rape in order to nail the accused? This is bizarre and condemnable method of investigation”.

It advised the Police to be professional and non-partisan in the investigation saying that, “Pastor Fatoyinbo is not a criminal; he is mere suspect of a very controversial allegation, which is what the Police has a responsibility to find out, instead of treating the accused as a criminal.

“We therefore strongly advise and warn that until proven otherwise, the law must fully protect both the complainant and the accused equally. Thus the unwarranted harassment and intimidation of Pastor Fatoyinbo by the Nigeria Police should stop forthwith,” the group declared.

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