COZA: Investigating team will unravel hidden issues, says CAN

The Acting General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Joseph Daramola, has said several hidden issues need to be unravelled in the rape allegation against the senior pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo.

He promised that the investigating team will carry out the proper investigation without fear or favour.

Daramola spoke with our correspondent yesterday in Abuja while giving an update on the rape saga.

He said: “We do not want to limit the investigation because it is very wide. We all know that there is something hidden in this issue. Without sentiment, nobody is condoning any criminal act. I am a lawyer, and before you can prove the offence of rape successfully, you have to consider so many things. You have to prove beyond every reasonable doubt before you can establish any rape case.

“One cannot easily have his way into a woman; it is not possible, and here we are talking about rape. If you look at the entire story, one has to do a proper investigation.

“For example, if the court wants to look into it, a lot of things will be considered. Church elders will interrogate Fatoyinbo without fear or favour. There is no pastor that people don’t tempt. We have got to a place where our thinking faculty has to be sharpened. And we have to reason like human beings. The investigation will be concluded soon but it has to be properly conducted.”

Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa, the coordination Chaplin of the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, who is also the Bishop African Church, Diocese of Abuja, said the church must conduct a proper investigation.

He added: “We are on the same page on this matter. The truth is that the ministry of Jesus Christ is to save and not to destroy. And if our ministry is to save when even there is a member who has done wrong, the first thing that is to come into our mind is: how do we face the situation? Then, you deal with it in accordance with the scripture. Generally, the ministry of Christ is to redeem mankind…”

Also, CAN has defended the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s presumed silence on prevailing national issues.

The umbrella Christian body said Adeboye is a member of CAN as well as Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), adding that the two Christian bodies had taken their stand on current national issues.

CAN said no one should expect the RCCG overseer to speak on the same issues that had been addressed by the two prominent Christian bodies.

CAN’s reaction is coming on the heels of alleged protest by a group of musicians on the refusal of Adeboye to comment on national issues.

A statement yesterday in Jos, the Plateau State capital, by CAN’s National Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel, said: “The attention of CAN has been drawn to the news of a protest led by some secular musicians  against one of our highly respected leaders of the Church, not only in Nigeria but worldwide, namely, the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye, over his purported silence on some unpleasant national issues and the call for his suspension from the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).

“While we appreciate the concern of the protesters over the issues they raised and the call for a better nation, we strongly believe, as the umbrella body for Christians and churches in Nigeria, to which the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Pastor Adeboye belong, that to single out one of our leaders and members, to say the least, is unfair. The entire exercise, in our view, was ill-motivated.

“The people who staged this insulting protest against a highly revered servant of God in the person of Pastor Adeboye are totally ignorant of the operations of CAN. It needs to be known to all that for more than once, Pastor Adebayo has addressed the press and said that as a ‘man under authority’, he cannot speak over issues that CAN or PFN have spoken about, unless by the express permission of these two bodies.

“Our highly respected Pastor Adeboye is an unusually humble man and a man of the spirit, who has learnt to operate under authority in line with scriptural injunctions as a servant of God. He has said more than once that he cannot say anything again after CAN and PFN have spoken about issues.

“Any protest against Pastor Adeboye will be seen by us as a systematic insult against the leaders of the church in Nigeria. Why should any group of people think that it is their right to protest and demand that Pastor Adeboye should speak over the issues they listed when CAN and PFN have spoken on them?”

“…For emphasis, if we go the memory lane, for not less than three occasions, CAN has taken many of the issues which the protesters were mentioning to President Muhammadu Buhari, requesting the government to do more to get the people in captivity released, such as the remaining Chibok girls, Leah Sharibu, the captive of faith and Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, the Islamic preacher who is still kept in detention against the ruling of the court…”

The PFN also berated protesters against Pastor Adeboye.

Its President, Dr. Felix Omobude, addressed reporters yesterday in Benin, the Edo State capital.

He said: “The PFN notes with concern reports of a protest at the Redemption Camp of RCCG, said to have been organised by some musicians, asking our leader, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, to speak up against injustice.

“The group is also said to have called on the PFN to suspend Pastor Adeboye for alleged complicity in a matter completely outside his brief.

“For the avoidance of doubt and confusion that might have precipitated the unfortunate action embarked upon by this group, the PFN wishes to set the record straight with respect to the following.

“The RCCG is a founding member of the PFN and has remained loyal, active and supportive of all its actions and activities.

“Pastor Adeboye, the founding father in his own right, is a past president of the PFN, having led the fellowship from 1992 to 1995.

“He remains an active member of the national advisory council, the apex administrative organ of the fellowship.

“Pastor Adeboye has been a part of the visioning and policy formulation process of the PFN, signing on to all the statements issued by the PFN on issues of national affairs.

“On the issues of concern to the group, Pastor Adeboye’s positions are exactly as have been canvassed, on numerous occasions, by the PFN.