Angry youths in Sapele, Delta State, have closed down St. Luke’s Anglican Diocese over alleged corruption by the bishop and dwindling membership. The incensed youths also accused the diocese’s bishop, Rt. Rev Blessing Erifeta, of making money at the expense of the church and are demanding that he resigns.
They accused the bishop causing a dip in church attendances in the diocese because he introduced many levies and frequently insults members. They threatened to report the cleric to the anti-graft agencies.
Sunday’s service at the diocese’s headquarters ended abruptly when church youths launched a protest, which resulted in the gates of the church being locked. Members were forced to continue the service outside the church premises.
The bishop was said to have escaped the wrath of the youths as he was smuggled out of the church.
Bishop Erifeta, however, described the allegations against him as untrue.
In a six-page petition addressed to the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, the youths alleged that the bishop and his wife have been feeding fat on church funds and buying choice cars.
They accused the bishop of refusal to repay a loan of N8 million taken from the church cooperative society as well as refusal to remit the proceeds from the sale of a Toyota Avalon previously purchased by the diocese.
Other allegations levelled against the bishop include making foreign trips with his wife and family members from funds drawn from offering and tithes as well as donations and levies amounting to over N12 million, which they said are of no benefit to the diocese.