Riot breaks out at Anglican synod in Nigeria, four women and one youth injured

Protesters demanding for the dismissal of an allegedly corrupt Anglican bishop have interrupted the Anglican Church from convening its synod in Nigeria. The said protesters also clashed with authorities which resulted with five people injured.

St. John's Church at Sagamu, 1 April 2016, 10:16:24 | Creative Commons/Kazenify

According to the Anglican's official website, protesters surrounded St. John's Anglican Church in Amukpe recently and blocked the clergy and delegates from entering the church to participate in the scheduled synod. The protesters held placards and demanded the resignation of Rt. Rev. Blessing Erife­ta, the bishop of Sapele.

The vicar of St. John then reportedly called the who were soldiers positioned to protect an oil pipeline nearby and requested them to clear the church building of the demonstrators. The clergy prayed at a school nearby as the authorities and protestors clashed. The incident resulted in injuries among four women and a youth.

Members of the Youth League also blocked the clergy and congregation from holding a synod at the St. Luke's Cathedral in July last year as they accused Bishop Erife­ta of "financial recklessness, mal-admin­istration, disrespect to elders and embark[ing] on incessant trips abroad with the diocese funds" and petitioned Archbishop Nicholas Okoh to sack the bishop.

According to National Reformer News Online, the leaders of the rescue group of the Sapele Diocese Anglican Communion petitioned on Oct. 9 last year to the Inspector General of Police. The petitioners complained that Bishop Erife­ta did not only mishandle the church finances but also threatened to kidnap and kill them.

The bishop appeared consequently at the zone 5 Nigeria Police in Benin City as authorities interrogated him over the accusations. He was subsequently set free by the police as investigations continued.

Diocesan secretary Churchill Akure came to the defense of the bishop.

"The cathedral has been known for so many bad reports in the past and the bishop did not give them a room to continue in such bad light through regular caution and rebuke," Akure said in a statement. "This is what they called insult. They keep resisting correction and are not ready to adjust. I pray God will open their eyes of understanding," the secretary added.