The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh, has pledged the Church of Nigeria’s (Anglican Communion) support for the Kaduna State Government’s efforts to entrench peace, law and order in the state.
According to him, the church is not fighting Governor Nasir El-Rufai.
A statement by Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, said Okoh stated this when he visited el-Rufai at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House on Wednesday.
“The Church of Nigeria is not fighting with the governor and the government of Kaduna State,” the statement quoted the cleric as saying.
The Archbishop dissociated the church from the “unguarded and unacceptable writing of one of our Bishops, the Right Reverend Abiodun Ogunyemi, the Bishop of Zaria Diocese.”
He said, “Our brother, Bishop Ogunyemi, has been cautioned and warned to desist from making utterances and writing that are tantamount to threatening the peace of Kaduna State and the nation at large.
“The Church of Nigeria is not partisan in the politics of the nation and that the position of Bishop Ogunyemi is not the position of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).
“The Church of Nigeria has sat severally in meetings and extensive discussions with our brother, Bishop Ogunyemi, where he was cautioned and charged to desist from utterances and writing that could lead to a misunderstanding between the Church and government, and stir up religious crisis. Your Excellency, we can assure you that he has given an undertaking to be of good behaviour.”
According to the statement, Okoh reiterated the belief of the church in the biblical teaching to “give back to Caesar what is Caeser’s and to God what is God’s”.
He said, “We believe God sets up leaders and that the government of Kaduna State is in existence by the grace of God. The Anglican Church does not engage itself in fighting governments, rather, it seeks fruitful ways of engaging the government for the benefit of the citizens of the land.”
The statement added that the primate expressed gratitude that the status of St. George’s Cathedral, Zaria, had been clarified.
El-Rufai thanked Okoh and his delegation for the visit, just as he expressed disappointment by the conduct of Bishop Ogunyemi over the issue of St.George’s Cathedral, Sabon Gari, Zaria.