By Olanrewaju Julius
Nigerian justice system is seriously under intense trial in an ongoing alleged rape case. How a supposed police investigation into the facts of petition of an alleged rape offence of 20 years or 18 years ago or a timeline we are not even sure of, has now dramatically turned into a persecution remains a mystery that needs to be unraveled.
Is there more going on inside the Nigerian Police than meets the eye in the rape allegation against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo? An informant in the FCID confirmed that the original petition written by Busola Dakolo stated that the alleged rape happened on a Wednesday in September 2001, and the second time within the same period when she claimed that she went to the Pastors house to assist in babysitting their baby daughter. Her petition was dated 26th June 2019 and stamped received by the AIG, FCID on the 27th June 2019.
However when Busola Daloko gave her statement to support her petition with the police, she allegedly attempted to correct these inconsistencies by changing the timelines. She then claimed that the alleged rape now happened in September 2002. This is crucial because the Pastor’s daughter was not born until 2002 which was a year after the date she stated in her petition. This among other inconsistent statements in the rape allegation should have been what the police investigator should have reviewed before taking the investigation further.
Rather than confront the complainant with these inconsistencies, the police now appears to be dancing to a suspicious and strange drumbeat. As many observers of this case have variously expressed, it seems there is a foul play in helping Busola Dakolo modify the facts of her allegation in order to find ensure that the accused is nailed at all cost.
The question therefore is, is this a professional and unbiased investigation by the Nigeria Police Force or blatant act of persecution, harassment and intimidation bolstered by some powerful elements behind the scene who wants Pastor Fatoyinbo pulled down by all means? What is the rationale or logic of an attempted detention of the Pastor in police custody until late hours for what is a bailable offence? What explanation can the Police give to justify the search of the Pastor’s residence and his Church Office in the course of investigation of an allegation of 18 years ago that was claimed to have transpired in Ilorin, Kwara State?
There are strong suspicions that the DIG, FCID might have compromised in the investigation of this matter and rather than conduct a proper investigation into the facts, just embarked on a desperate and I’ll-conceited fact-finding expedition even though there is no evidence of the basic elements of the allegation of rape.
From all intents and purposes, the Police must have definitely succumbed to the pressure of the unconditional strategy of the cacophony of the court of Social Media. At the beginning when this rape allegations fire was being stoked by the complainant and her retinue of supporters who took to the social media, as well as riotous and illegal occupation of COZA during a church service, this fear was expressed by concerned Nigerians in this regard.
There was a cautionary warning that if the case is not handled with utmost care and discretion, justice would not only be wrongly served on the accused but that also, the unsavoury development might have even a higher implication on the nation’s legal and justice system, which is that, state institutions cowardly submitting its jurisdictional powers and levers of justice to social media thugs hired to serve jungle justice on Pastor Fatoyinbo who, according to law, is still presumed innocent until he is found guilty by the court of competent jurisdiction.
Another notable suspicion is the high profile partisan interest shown in this case by public and private sector actors, even before investigation is concluded. Is this how Nigeria intends to build a democratic society where interest of all citizen should be protected by the law? All enlightened and informed Nigerians understand this fact that it is on such a faulty legal, social and moral foundation that failed state and societies are built.
The law and justice system should serve the interest of both the rich and poor. All enlightened and patriotic Nigerians must rise up in corporate or collective defence of victims of injustice. We must all rise up and ensure that we defend the principles upon which justice is served. In other words, justice served is as good as diligently following the laid down principles that lead to it otherwise, it is not justice. And if today Pastor Fatoyinbo is a victim of violation of the principles of justice by those in position of authority, it will definitely be another person’s turn tomorrow, maybe among the loudest voices that are baying for his crucifixion before he is heard and in full compliance with our laws.
Due to the escalation of the infringement on the fundamental human rights of the accused, a monitoring unit was said to have been deployed in the FCID to monitor the manner in which the investigation is being conducted to ensure the fundamental rights of the Pastor is not infringed upon. Now the law is being tested here. On what basis is the plot to detain the pastor while investigation is still ongoing?
The boiling point of this is that, the Pastor shunned the invitation by the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) because he was advised to await the conclusion of the Police investigation of what is a criminal allegation against him. But right now, he may have been betrayed by the police that is supposed to be protecting him from the serial infringement of fundamental human rights.
It is not in the interest of justice for the Police to detain Pastor Fatoyinbo on a bailable offence while investigation is still going on. It is also a far cry from fairness to collect his international passport. What for? That he might run? Why? How? The police must remain unbiased in their investigation. The accused does not deserve to be treated like a common criminal as it is in this case.
Olanrewaju Julius, Wuse 2, Abuja