A largely peaceful protest was held outside the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA) in Abuja on Sunday to force immediate resignation of Biodun Fatoyinbo as the lead preacher of the Pentecostal congregation. The protest of about 300 people started at about 8:30 a.m. at the COZA headquarters in Abuja. It was among the responses to the raging allegations of rape involving Mr Fatoyinbo.
The demonstrators, largely women, dressed in white T-shirts and carried placards bearing a variety of condemnations of rape against Mr Fatoyinbo. They also used black sellotape to gag themselves in an apparent reverence to victims of rape and other violent sexual encounters.
A similar protest held at the COZA branch in Lagos. The protesters carrying placards with different inscriptions occupied the entrance of the church at Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja GRA, Lagos, booing people entering church with megaphones, and screaming “Biodun, go to jail… No to rape.”
Church members seen driving into the premise of the church are greeted with mockery as the crowd shouts “Shame… Shame… Shame”.
Many of those who attended the sit-in outside the COZA Abuja, the largest of the church’s five branches across the country, found personal connections in Mrs Dakolo’s story and shared in her ordeal. The scandal IS seen as merely another episode of systemic abuse of women and children in the country, a deplorable act that has continued with little government capacity to address.
Many of the protesters said the allegations against Mr Fatoyinbo, coming from different women over years, have exposed him as unscrupulous and unfit to lead such a large congregation — which sees tens of thousands worshipers every Sunday.
By: Dammy Eneli