The crisis bedeviling the Sapele Diocese, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, worsen as women of the Diocese number over 300 in a protest in Sapele, called for the immediate removal of the embattled Bishop of the Diocese RT. Rev Blessing Erifeta, who have being have a running battle with the Church leaders and member.
The women under the aegis of “Mother’s Union and the women’s guild of Diocese who thronged the streets of Sapele after a prayer Convocation at the “All Saint Church, Isoko lane, off new Ogorode road, Sapele, went round other branches of the Anglican communion bearing placards with different inscriptions, called on the Church authority for the transfer of the Bishop.
Some of placards bore the inscriptions such as “Anglican women say no to Erifeta,” “Bishop Erifeta our church is not your feeding bottle,” “Bishop Erifeta must go,” “Our Diocese is not your property,” “Anglican women say no to greed, oppression must stop,” “bribery and corruption you must go,” amongst others said that they are fade up the embezzlement church funds.
Some of the women who spoke with journalists during the protest, listed some of the alleged sins of their Bishop, “to include mismanagement of the Diocese finances, business and fund; since his assumption of office six years ago, insubordinations to elders, raining abusive and curse on members at the slightest provocation, and training of his children Abroad with diocese fund without due approval.”
The protesting women led by Mrs. M. keyoma, Mrs. Dora Oyibo, Mrs Vivian Oyibo and others addedthat before the arrival of the Bishop, they have been worshipping their God in peace with the Churches growing and expanding rapidly, but since Erifeta came, there has been little or no improvement across all the branches in the Diocese.
They explained further that due to his high handedness and continuous curses on members, many of them have left the church to other denominations as membership of the entire Sapele Anglican Diocese have dwindled within the past six years of his leadership, remarking that his avaricious and flamboyant life style have allegedly pushed him to deep his hand into the Diocese funds.
Stressing that even the Holy Trinity Grammar School (funds) owned by the Diocese, the fund of the pure water factory, owned by the Diocese cooperative society was not spared by the Bishop whom they also alleged has refused to pay the salaries of the clergies who are not his cronies.
The group maintained that despite all the effort made by the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) zone 5 Benin City to settle the matter, the Bishop has frustrated all attempts to remove him from office by posting false publications against their leaders through the internet as well taken them to court, pointing out further that the Bishop has completely destroyed the Church of God built by their forefathers.
Reacting to this development, a Senior Clergy of the Diocese who does not want his name on print, said the position of the Diocese as it were is unfortunate in the sense that to remove the Bishop as demanded by the protesters would not be easy since any move in that direction will spell doom to the entire Diocese because other Diocese will follow suit to make demands for the removal of their Bishops at the slightest provocation.
Meanwhile, all attempt to reach the Bishop on the matter for his comments has not been successful, especially with is cell phone lines permanently swift off, as he was also said to have moved out of his official residence near the diocese headquarters.