On Sunday, the 14th of July 2019, the Abuja branch of the Commonwealth Of Zion Assembly received a purported solidarity visit from Reverend Dr. Israel Akanji, the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) North Central Zone, and Reverend Dr. Jonah Samson, chairman of CAN, FCT chapter.
Both reverends insisted they were at the church to relay the stance of the much larger organization and ‘bring’ the accused pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo back into the fold.
We pointed that this was a complete deviation from the original position offered by the CAN’s national body just a week before, announcing that COZA and Fatoyinbo are not part of the organization and as such are not under their jurisdiction on control.
Barrister Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, the national director of Legal Affairs for the organization has released a second statement confirming suspicions that both pastors were acting without the permission of the National CAN.
Here’s the statement in full.
The attention of the President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Samson O. A. Ayokunle has been called to a report and a video clip going round that Christian Association of Nigeria has sent her officials to Commonwealth of Zion Assembly(COZA) Church to stand by the Senior Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo on the rape allegation against him.
This message is to categorically inform the Christian leaders, the general public and all lovers of truth that CAN or the President of CAN did not approve and knows nothing about such a solidarity visit.
Those who did so did it on their own. We stand by our earlier release on this issue that while we would never support any act of immorality from whatever quarter, we would not jump into passing judgement without thorough investigation of the matter.
Vondip also confirmed a couple of other things.
First, the investigation by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria is being done with the cooperation of CAN, and their organization was given jurisdiction because Fatoyinbo’s COZA identifies as Pentecostal.
Second, the results of the PFN investigation spearheaded by their chairman, Felix Omubude is coming out in an estimated two weeks since it was initiated, which means we should be getting result by early next week.
Third, CAN intends to punish Fatoyinbo if he is found guilty, to the full extent of the law and their principles.
It would seem foolhardy to hope that PFN and CAN will remain neutral and allow the facts determine their eventual actions, but so much progress has already been made in the Fatoyinbo case, it’s hard to disprove that public pressure on these organizations to remain accountable isn’t causing impact.
We just hope it leads justice for all involved.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.