Monday, June 21, 2010

Church of Nigeria teaches parish property belongs to the diocese

Bishop of the Lagos West Diocese, Peter Adebiyi is embroiled in a dispute with a parish within his jurisdiction. Here's what he has to say about who owns the property:
The Bishop faulted the decision of the St Paul’s council members to quit the Lagos West Diocese. “It is not possible. By the law that established my diocese, they cannot move out of the diocese except I allow it. If I don’t allow it, there is nothing they can do; the best they can do is to leave the church. That church is entrusted unto us.

“In Anglican church, if I come to your house and you give me a piece of land at the back of your compound and I accept, thank you, build a church and you are a member of the church, from that day you have automatically lost ownership of the land. If you are aggrieved and you want your land back, you have to go to court. If the court says the land should be given back to you, so be it otherwise the land belongs to the church.

“So, the land and the church belong to the Lagos West Diocese. Nobody can even cut a tree there without our authority. If they want to leave the church, they can carry themselves and leave. They can go and build another church and give it to any diocese they want but St Paul’s Anglican Church, Mushin, belongs to Lagos West Diocese,” the Bishop maintained.
Akinola makes an appearance in the dispute:
the council on July 8, 2009 severed all kinds of relationship with the Lagos West Diocese through a resolution, which was read to the whole congregation and adopted by the church. Apparently, the die was cast and the council decided to take the matter to the outgoing Primate of All-Nigerian Anglican Communion, The Most Rev Peter Akinola, who they thought would satisfactorily resolve the matter.

But their hopes, according to the council, were dashed when the Primate set up a committee of three provincial archbishops to address the problem. The committee comprised the Archbishops of Lokoja, Enugu and Kwara. That of Kwara incidentally is Bishop Adebiyi’s first cousin.

The decision to set up the committee was ab initio greeted with mixed feelings by the council, who had expected the Primate to call a meeting where they would come face to face with Adebiyi to resolve the matter.

Besides, the committee’s composition did not go down well with the council as the members reasoned that with Adebiyi’s cousin in the committee, the outcome was predictable.
The article was published in The (Nigeria) Sun, February 14, 2010.

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