Alleged rape: Police should stop harassing Fatoyinbo now ― Group
A human right and social justice organisation, Social Justice League has called on the Nigeria Police Force 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 levelled against him by Mrs Bukola Dakolo.
The group stated that it has been monitoring the controversial issues and the Police handling of the case and cautioned the Police not to make itself willing tools in the hands of external influences to pervert justice.
In a statement signed by the Director of the organisation, Dr Atta Ogah, and Secretary, Barrister Bitrus Godwin, and made available to journalists, the group, arising from its quarterly policy review meeting in Abuja, observed that, “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 appears 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 organization 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 antigraft for unlawful trespass by raiding and searching the premises of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) asking “What were they looking for? Evidence of rape in order to nail the accused? This is bizarre and condemnable method of investigation”.
It thus warned 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 warned.