From our Correspondent
It was confusion, sorrow and anguish as worshipers of the Cathedral Church of St Luke’s headquarters of Sapele Diocese of the (Anglican Communion) worshipped outside their church premises on Sunday 02/08/2015 as a result of the entire church premises which was earlier placed under lock and keys by the youths last Thursday protesting the sack of their spiritual head Rt. Rev. Dr. B.A. Erifeta (JP) for financial mismanagement, greed, intimidation of members among others.
Some of the members of the church who were not yet in the picture of the new development came to church as early as 7am as usual but were surprised to see that their church, the largest cathedral in town was placed under heavy keys as they were later briefed by the security men employed by the church on the new development.
The peoples warden Mr. Onojorhoevwo Oghenero of the cathedral church of St. Luke Sapele who read his address during the brief open air service, announced a vote of no confidence placed on the Bishop by members of the rescue team of Sapele Diocese in a letter which was signed by himself and twelve others and addressed to His Grace, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of (Anglican Communion) and copied Rt. Rev. Christian Esezi Ide, Bishop, Diocese of Warri.
The peoples Warden in a letter they addressed to their spiritual head with the title, A call for immediate attention to Rescue Sapele Diocese from Greed, Oppression and Backwardness, drew his attention to what they alleged the deteriorating state of Sapele Diocese since the enthronement of Rt. Rev. (Dr) Blessing A. Erifeta (JP), Noting that they have applied tolerance and deep perseverance to curtail all the excesses of the Bishop for the past six years with the expectation that things will get better but to no avail.
He added that they have equally forestalled the eruption of serious crisis in the diocese from different quarters that have been agitating for a change and freedom from Bondage and right now everything has gotten to their elastic limit, whereas the Bishop sees both the laity and clergy as foolish “Mumu” or senseless people that do not know their right from their left.
Mr. Onojorhoevwo also listed some of their grievances with the Bishop which has led to the apologetic state of the diocese and increased tension in the church to include, administering the holy Trinity Grammar school inherited from Warri diocese as his personal business,
administering the pure water factory of the diocese as his private business, Reckless spending of Diocese funds and involvement of the diocese in frivolous loans for purchasing of choice vehicles, giving of a marching order to all the priests of the diocese to remove their salary account from first bank to Fidelity Bank Plc to facilitate loan transaction at the expense of the members of the diocese.
Others crimes of the Bishop as alleged by the group are replacement of spirituality with materialism, absence of due process, non-accountability, probity and conservation in the administration of finances of the diocese, incessant ordination and collation even
though the diocese cannot care for the financial implication, display of high level of arrogance, autocracy and intimidation in all diocese board meetings and clergy staff meetings, where he does all the talking, gives reports and any move for a contrary
idea/suggestion will not be countenanced by the Bishop and refusal of the Bishop to pay back the N8,000,000,00 clergy corporative money which he took without the notice of officials of the cooperative society, ignoring the official directive of the ministry of commerce, Delta State to refund the money.
He also alleged of the Bishop incessant trips abroad with his family members, training of his children abroad at the expense of the diocese without due process amongst other endless list of his misdeeds, which they said has resulted in the drastic reduction of the church
membership which now stood at 240 worshippers due to unnecessary financial pressure on them.
They concluded and resolved to pass a vote of no confidence on him, calling on him to report himself and step aside while calling on the primate, most Rev. Nicholas Okoh to wade into the matter by giving them a Godly Bishop that will rebuild their dilapidated and wounded diocese, noting that they have put modalities in place to invite the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and other relevant agencies to investigate the Bishop’s financial recklessness, urging the primate to constitute an audit committee comprised of people from diocese outside Bendel province and a member from their group to guide
against unwholesome influences.
Others who spoke to journalists after the church service such as Sir. Simon Agbaroli, a knight of the Anglican Communion, a seventy two year old man while speaking to journalists cried out openly as he narrated how Bishop Erifeta rained insult on him during a church building
project in which he was the head of that committee describing how the Bishop asked him “ is there anything wrong in your head” this was after he had explained to him the extent of job they have done so far on the ongoing project for a job which they have done thoroughly for the church from the bottom of their heart.
Mr. Agbaroli went further to explain how the Bishop squandered the church money with impunity without recourse to other members of the church whom he often transfer at will especially the clergies including the elders whom he rained insult on their head for them
questioning his authority during any deliberation concern the church finances.
He and others including the women of the church said if the primate does not remove the Bishop from the diocese which is almost going into extinction, they too will follow others who have left the church due to the bishop’s greed to worship elsewhere, vowing further that they will never re-open the church premises not until the primate come down
to transfer the bishop from Sapele.
Meanwhile, at the time of filing this report the Bishop was not available for his comment on the allegation concerning him, neither could he be reached on phone, while other clergies within the St Luke Cathedral were equally not available for their comments.