The Kaduna State Government has dragged an Anglican Bishop, Rt. Rev. Abiodun Ogunyemi, to court on August 4, 2020 for alleged criminal defamation, injurious falsehood and criminal intimidation.
The Bishop of Zaria Diocese of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion was arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court in Kaduna.
O’gunyemi’s arraignment arose from a letter of appeal he sent to Governor Nasir el-Rufai on September 18, 2019 following a government directive that the Cathedral Church of St George in Zaria should be demolished.
Copies of the letter were forwarded to the Commissioner of Police and Director of the Department of State Services.
Following other protests from Church members and stakeholders, the government in a newspaper publication rescinded its order to demolish the Cathedral.
It was alleged that the governor was not happy with one of the Bishop’s correspondences he sighted elsewhere, which he believed was offensive and directed the Commissioner of Police for discreet investigation.
As a result, the police invited the bishop for interrogation several times at its headquarters in Kaduna.
However on August 3, 2020, after a long lull, he was again invited to the Police Headquarters.
The next day, August 4, 2020, he was arraigned on the advice of the Ministry of Justice.
He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.
A member of the Kaduna Synod and Canon of the Cathedral Church of St Michael Kaduna stood in as surety.
The Magistrate adjourned the case to August 17, 2020 for hearing of witnesses.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, who led the legal team of the State, announced in court that there were consultations going on which could lead to peaceful resolution of the case and requested for an adjournment.
The Chancellor of Zaria and counsel for the Bishop, Dr. John Omughele, conceded to this and the court adjourned the case to October 28, 2020 for repor, or hearing or report and hearing.