Biodun Fatoyinbo, founder of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly(COZA) on Friday explained why he shunned the panel set up by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).
PFN set up the five-member panel to investigate the rape allegation leveled against him by Busola, wife of popular singer, Timi Dakolo.
The embattled cleric said he did not appear before the panel because it appeared biased.
He also added that he was advised by his lawyers not to appear before the panel because it was prejudiced and may not conduct an impartial session.
Mr. Fatoyinbo revealed this in a statement issued by his senior assistant, Ademola Adetuberu.
PFN’s National Publicity Secretary, Emma Isong, a Bishop, on Thursday said the panel was unable to conclude the investigations.
He said it was because “Several attempts to meet Pastor Biodun of COZA church, who is one of the important parties in this matter, failed despite efforts by the fact-finding committee to get his attention or appearance.”
Mr. Isong, however, said that Mr Dakolo and his wife appeared before the panel.
He also said the panel, which met for more than a month, had several meetings and interfaced with several parties that were connected with the matter.
In the statement, Mr Fatoyinbo explained that he snubbed the panel because the PFN President, Felix Omobude, had earlier publicly disowned him.
“We recall that when Pastor Fatoyinbo was invited by a phone call a few days ago by Pastor Akinola Akinwale, who is the National Administrative Secretary of PFN, we explained that our Pastor would not honour the invitation due to legal advice hinged on the ongoing police investigation,” the statement read.
“The legal advice was also premised on the press statement issued and personally signed by the PFN President, Bishop Felix Omobude, where our Pastor was publicly disowned.
“Based on the foregoing, we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the PFN was already prejudiced and may not conduct an impartial session.”
He said the panel did not make a written invitation to him.
Mr Fatoyinbo, however, assured that he would appear before the panel after the conclusion of the police probe into the rape allegations.
Read the full statement below:
“The legal advice was also premised on the Press Statement issued and personally signed by the PFN President, Bishop Felix Omobude, where our Pastor was publicly disowned. Based on the foregoing, we are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the PFN was already prejudiced and may not conduct an impartial session.
“According to the report, Rev Omobude, whom we hold in high esteem, went further to crucify our Pastor without seeking to know his side of the story on the matter. With all due respect, we consider this a prejudicial position in dispensing justice and fairness.
“Even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was given an opportunity for a fair hearing by the Kangaroo Panel set up with the prime motive of condemning Him to death.
“Up till today, there was never any written invitation from the panel or the PFN leadership, apart from the telephone call which we explained why our Pastor could not come, requesting him officially to appear before the panel.
“A few days ago, a National Officer of the PFN, who spoke to our Senior Lawyer, was informed of the basis why Pastor Fatoyinbo was advised not to appear before the PFN’s panel until the Police investigation into the matter was concluded.
“Once the police investigation is over, our Pastor is ready to honour the invitation.
“We have also been legally advised to deploy judicial intervention to clear our Pastor as soon as possible, and the process has commenced in earnest. We appreciate those who stood and still standing by us. It is our hope that the truth shall prevail in the end.”
The controversial pastor has held Nigerian headlines since June when Mrs. Dakolo revealed her ordeal in a YouTube interview with Chude Jideonwo of YNaija.
She alleged that the clergyman raped her twice in Ilorin, Kwara State when she was 16.
Many Nigerians have asked that the police and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) investigate the case.