The embattled pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly Biodun Fatoyinbo Monday said he is taking “leave of absence” from the church, a day after protesters demanded his resignation.

“I have decided to take a leave of absence from the pulpit of the church,” Fatoyinbo said in a statement posted to his Instagram page.

“It is in the interest of the flock of Christ that issues concerning me do not become a distraction to their worship of their Lord.”

The pastor, who said the past few days have been very “sobering”, said he took the decision after he was advised by the Christian leaders.

He added that although the decision breaks his heart, it was the “right thing to do at this time.”

Fatoyinbo was accused by Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer and wife of singer Timi Dakolo, of raping her twice in a week when she was still a teenager.

Fatoyinbo has denied ever raping Busola or any other person. His wife, Modele, also spoke in his defence.

“Not even as an unbeliever will my husband rape someone,” Mrs Fatoyinbo said during the church service on Sunday.

Despite Fatoyinbo’s denial, hundreds of protesters marched on COZA premises in Lagos and Abuja, demanding the resignation and prosecution of the pastor.

An obviously hired crowd also held a pro-Fatoyinbo march in Abuja. A protester told newsmen that he was given N10, 000 to stomp for the pastor.