By Amos Igbebe
Protesting youths of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke Anglican Church in Sapele, Delta State, weekend, barricaded the church, leaving the church under heavy locks and key and calling for the immediate sack of the Presiding Bishop, Rev. Dr. B.A Erifeta.
The protest was against what the youths called financial recklessness, maladministration, insubordination, intimidation of members by the bishop, Rev Dr. B.A Erifeta (JP) and hence, requesting the General Headquarters, Abuja, to remove the Bishop from office with immediate effect to allow for speedy growth of the Sapele Diocese.
The youths in their hundreds rose from the youth synod preparatory to their annual general synod at Jeddo, in Okpe Local Government Area, placed the cathedral which is one of the largest worship centers in Sapele, under lock and heavy keys, carrying placards with the inscriptions, “without congregation no Bishop, without laity no Bishop, stop insulting our elders in church, enough of embezzlement of church funds and intimation, we need accountability of church funds”.
In a letter dated 14th July, 2015 which was copied the Bishop of the Diocese, Rt Rev, Dr. B.A. Erifeta (JP), the church elders and all groups within the cathedral, and signed by the youth president, Mr. Gbaragada Clinton and many others, and addressed to His Grace, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of all Nigeria, the youths stated that having noted the reduction of the church membership with its attendant dwindling fortune occasioned by the maladministration of the Presiding Bishop, called for the Bishop to take and leave the church for good.
The youths also listed the alleged sins of the Bishop to include the dissolution of the church choir for no justifiable reason, hurling of insults on the elders and members whenever he comes to the cathedral to worship, while also using offensive and insulting words to members.
According to them, the attitude of the Bishop has sent many packing from the church in droves to other sister churches or to other denominations for worship, hence the declining fortune of the church.
The youths also called for a stop in payments in the church, describing the yearly synod as business and hustling ground where the bishop gathers enough cash for his foreign trips and other shoppings.
They also alleged that the Bishop has purchased two jeeps with the church money, calling on members to say no to greed and oppression, no to financial embezzlement and telling of lies, no to evil prophecy, insisting that the bishop had committed much atrocities in the church.
At the time of filling this report, the Bishop of the Diocese could not be reached for his comments on the allegation leveled against him, but a senior pastor of the cathedral, Venerable Otemu Oyibo, said they were taken aback by the activities of the youths who protested who protested against the Bishop.
He assured that the leadership of the church would do everything possible to put an end to the crisis so that normal church activities could resume, adding that security operatives have been invited to forestall any possible break down of law and order in the church.
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