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North American Nigerian Anglican Bishop Sues Nigerian Primate for Libel: Seeks Reinstatement and $707,000

North American Nigerian Anglican Bishop Sues Nigerian Primate for Libel: Seeks Reinstatement and $707,000

By David W. Virtue, DD
February 5, 2024

Charging he was unjustly suspended from ministry and libeled by the Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the Rt. Rev. Olukayode Adebogun says he will sue Archbishop Henry Ndukuba for $707,000 if he is not immediately reinstated.

"Bishop Adebogun was suspended from 2 positions: The Church of Nigeria North American Mission (CONNAM), Missionary Bishop of Canada and as a Bishop of Nigeria because of "utterances and actions" attributed to him. The Primate of the Church of Nigeria and its General Synod claimed these sought to undermine his authority and the church's mission in North America and Canada."

In a letter VOL received; Femi Falana of the Law Firm of Falana & Falana, argues that there is not a "scintilla of evidence" that the bishop made the alleged utterances and actions and that no basis exists for the suspension.

The bishop argues that he received no "fair hearing" and that the archbishop lacks the power to unilaterally suspend him under the unambiguous provisions of Article XVI of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria.

The letter says if the archbishop fails to reinstate the bishop, that to protect the reputation of their client they will sue both the Church and the archbishop for one billion Naira ($707,000 US).

Responding to the lawsuit threat and suspension, H. Odein Ajumogobia, Chancellor for the Church of Nigeria, writing on behalf of the Primate, said it was the duty and responsibility of the Primate and the Church to thoroughly investigate any complaints or petitions against bishops.

If a complaint stated a "prima facie" case (i.e., one sufficient on its face), then the Church had to corroborate whether those complaints or petitions based on any evidence submitted.

"The suspension of Bishop Adegbogun is therefore a temporary administrative action, exercised under the Primate's general supervisory administrative and disciplinary powers over bishops when complaints or charges of Canonical disobedience made against a Bishop come to or are brought to his attention pending an investigation into the complaint and before formal charges are preferred as required."

"This fact-finding investigation is not made pursuant to an article of the Constitution and Canons of the Church of Nigeria as you have erroneously presumed."

"The sole purpose of the Investigation panel inaugurated by the Primate, is to give your client a fair hearing in respect of the extremely serious allegations made against him of undermining decisions of the General Synod of the Church of Nigeria. This is the highest legislative and decision-making body of the Church of Nigeria which Bishop Adegbogun denied when previously confronted with such allegations."

"In the meantime, the Primate merely suspended your client pending his reinstatement or trial after hearing him and his witnesses."

The chancellor said the legal action and lawsuit seeking One Billion Naira in damages is "premature."

The original story can be found here: https://virtueonline.org/nigerian-anglican-archbishop-suspends-north-american-bishop


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