By Emmanuel Afonne
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Gender Mobile Initiative (GMI) has commended Busola Dakolo, wife of Nigeria’s popular inspirational singer, Timi Dakolo, for her courage to seek redress in court over her rape case.
Executive Director of GMI, Ms Omowumi Ogunrotimi (Esq), gave the commendation on Tuesday in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Mrs Dakolo had accused the founder and Senior Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, of raping her on Sept 23 and Sept 26, 2002 and that she had suffered continuous emotional distress ever since.
Her allegation against the pastor had set social media and other online platforms on fire, evoking shock, backlash and criticisms from Nigerians, especially the Christian community.
Fatoyinbo had been interrogated by the police over the rape allegation and was later released on bail.
“We at Gender Mobile commend the courage of Mrs Busola Dakolo for taking this allegation beyond the purview of the court of public opinion to the Court of Law where justice would be duly served.
“It is a common knowledge that rape victims especially in high profile cases who speak out about their experiences years after the attack often slandered by the public as opportunists making up stories for attention or money.
“We are therefore glad that her actions so far will serve as encouragement for others who have been silent,” Ogunrotimi said.
According to her, Busola Dakolo has taken a bold and unprecedented step by her action.
“She defied the societal “stigma” and “shame” usually accorded to victims of rape by coming out boldly and also dragging the alleged suspect to the court of law.
“This feat would not only serve as deterrent to other unscrupulous elements who are notorious in the act of rape but also encourage other victims of rape to speak out and seek redress in the court,” Ogunrotimi said.
She urged Fatoyinbo to take the opportunity of the court process to prove his innocence.
The activist noted that his boycott of the panel set-up by Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) over the matter was disappointing going by the “partiality” issue he raised.
Ogunrotimi said the Law court had been a neutral place to get justice and as such there was no reason the pastor should not go and defend himself.
“Finally, we appeal to law enforcement agencies, NGO’s and other relevant authorities to ensure this matter is not swept under the carpet.
“We cannot change the past, we cannot restore the loss that has been done but we have it within our power to make the world a better and also create safe spaces for victims.