Nigeria: Dakolo Heads to Appeal As Court Acquits Fatoyinbo of Alleged Rape

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(file photo).
15 November 2019

Abuja — Celebrity photographer, Busola Dakolo, thursday said she would go to the Appeal Court to challenge the ruling of Justice Othman Musa of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Bwari Area of Abuja, which acquitted Senior Pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, of rape charges.

Busola, wife of music artiste, Timi Dakolo, had dragged the pastor before the Abuja High Court, seeking justice and compensation over alleged rape she said was committed against her in 2002, when she was a teenager.

However, Justice Musa in his judgment, dismissed the case for lacking substance and awarded a cost of N1,000,000 against the plaintiff.

The court in acquitting Pastor Fatoyinbo of the rape allegation, held that the case of the plaintiff is purely sentimental and empty and liable to be dismissed.

Justice Musa while awarding costs of N1,000,000 against Busola Dakolo, held that it would have been 10 times more but resisted it because, according to him, there are women with legitimate claims who may approach the court for justice.

According to the court, the case carries more of cruelty than justice.

Earlier, Fatoyinbo, through his lawyer, Dr. Alex Izinyon SAN, in a preliminary objection dated 20th September, 2019, said the reliefs sought by Busola in the suit are not grantable, which makes the suit incompetent.

Dr. Izinyon submitted that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, adding that the suit is frivolous and a palpable abuse of court process.

In an affidavit deposed to, by Ademola Adetuberu, Executive Senior Assitant to Pastor Fatoyinbo, he said the substratum of the claimant's suit is the mere purported allegation of emotional and psychological distress as a result of the said purported mere allegation of rape against the Defendant.

He said in the affidavit, "That a suit of this nature is statute barred after a period of three years. The reliefs claimed by the Claimant in the suit clearly fall within the limitation law".

Busola had last month approached the court to seek redress in the allegation made against pastor Fatoyinbo.

In the substantive matter, Mrs Dakolo, through her lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, prayed the court to order Fatoyinbo to publish a clearly worded apology to Busola on the front page of at least two National Newspapers and two National Televisions for seven days running consecutively.

Meanwhile, the celebrity photographer, yesterday said she would appeal the ruling of the court. Her lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, said this in a statement in Abuja in reaction to the court verdict.

He said, "we have received several calls after the ruling of the high court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari this morning seeking our view on the decision of the court, hence, this statement.

"The court ruled that the matter is statute-barred because the events that crystallised to the cause of action took place 16 years ago and that the claimant Mrs. Busola Dakolo has only six years within which to seek redress in court in line with the statute of limitation.

We are mindful of the decision as delivered by the court, presided over by the Hon. Justice A.O Musa. We are equally observant of the fact that the Court omitted to address the cause of action, the subject matter of the suit in determining whether it has jurisdiction to entertain the said matter.

"While we acknowledge the time of the court, we know in accordance with the Nigerian judicial system that the Court's decision is not final as it is glaringly contestable.

"For all intent and purposes, having seen several sponsored misleading news reports in the media, we are duty-bound to state that the court has not and did not exonerate Biodun Fatoyinbo. As it stands, the substance of the matter has not received any judicial attention.

"Biodun Fatoyinbo through his lawyers have only argued that the court should not allow the matter to proceed to trial because it is an event that occurred long ago and hence out of time.

"We shall therefore in this circumstance approach a superior court to intervene for a better appreciation, and take a more expansive view of the suit considering that the subject matter is one that is novel in our clime."

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