There is a raging crisis currently ongoing in the 19 million strong Anglican Communion in Nigeria, and it may soon assume a legal dimension as the suspended Anglican Bishop of ADDOT Region1, Canada, Rt Rev Olukayode Adebogun has demanded immediate withdrawal of his suspension letter by the Primate of Nigeria, Archbishop Henry Ndukuba, or in the alternative, face court action.
Bishop Adebogun in a letter through his lawyer, Femi Falana SAN is demanding the suspension, claiming that his suspension infringed on his fundamental human rights to fair hearing.
Primate Ndukuba had suspended Adebogun towards the end of December 2023 pending ‘full investigation into his conduct and wilful disobedience to the authority of the Primate generally, and the general synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) with immediate effect’.
In the letter signed by the Church’s Communication Officer, Korede Akintunde, the suspension was alleged to be due to series of utterances and actions attributed to Adebogun since the General Synod of the Church held at Nnewi from September 12-16, 2023, which ‘seek to undermine the authority and lawful directives of the Primate with regard to with the Church’s mission in North America and Canada. The Coordinating Bishop of North America, Bishop Nathan Kanu was directed to take over Adebogun’s responsibilities.
However in a swift reaction Adebogun through his lawyer threatened to sue Primate Ndukuba in exercise of his Fundamental human rights.
The letter reads:
RE: LETTER OF SUSPENSION AS BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA AND CONNAM MISSIONARY BISHOP OF CANADA MISSIONARY REGION AREA 1
We are Solicitors to Rt. Rev. Olukayode Adebogun, the Area Bishop for Canada Missionary Region Area 1 in Canada (hereinafter referred to as “our client”) on whose behalf and instructions we write this letter.
Your letter entitled “LETTER OF SUSPENSION AS BISHOP OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA AND CONNAM MISSIONARY BISHOP OF CANADA MISSIONARY” and dated January 30, 2024 has been forwarded on us for necessary action.
In the said letter, Your Grace referred to the series of utterances attributed to our client “that seek to undermine the authority of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria and the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria with regard to the Church of Nigeria Mission in North America and Canada generally”.
Your Grace also referred to the series of utterances and actions attributed to our client “in disobedience of and designed to undermine the express lawful directives and authority of the Primate of the Church of Nigeria and the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria with regard to decisions lawfully taken by the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)”.
However, Your Grace concluded that “These utterances and actions if found to be true constitute acts of canonical disobedience in breach of the provisions of Section 22 of Chapter III of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)”.
The clear meaning of the conclusion of Your Grace is that it has not been established that the alleged utterances and actions emanated from our client pursuant o article XV1 of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). Curiously, Your Grace turned round to suspend our client as a Bishop of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) without any scintilla of evidence whatsoever.
Apart from the egregious infringement of the fundamental right of our client to fair hearing, Your Grace lacks the power to unilaterally suspend him under the unambiguous provisions of Article XVI of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
The letter of the purported suspension of our client as a Bishop which was circulated in online news and other social media by Your Grace has caused irreparable damage to him, his wife and other family members.
TAKE NOTICE that if Your Grace fails to accede to our request we shall not hesitate to sue you and the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) with a view to protecting the reputation of our client. Specifically, we shall pray the appropriate court to order the reinstatement of our client as a Bishop of the Church of Nigeria and award damages of N1,000,000.00 to him for the libelous letter.
While awaiting the reply of Your Grace to this letter, please accept the assurances of our highest esteem.
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