In Retrospect: Laity sues Anglican Church over amendment of Canons

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The Registered Trustees of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion (RTCNAC) and four others have been dragged before the Federal High Court, Abuja over alleged amendment of canons.

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Others joined as defendants in the suit are the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of the church, Rev. Nicholas D. Okon, the Dean of the church, Rev. Buba Lamido, the chancellor of the church, Henry Odein Ajumogobia, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and the registrar of the church, Mr. Abraham N. Yisa.


All the defendants were dragged before the court by Ugo Obi-Okoye, who sued them as a communicant member and on behalf of the Laity of the church.


The plaintiff’s statement of claims stated that the first defendant, RTCNAC, like other incorporated trustees, has its own compendium of rules and regulations to guide its affair. RTCNAC extant and subsisting rules and regulations is known as ‘The Constitution and Canons, 1997 (as amended).”

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He averred that the defendant ‘s constitution and canons, has a legislative known as “ The General Synod’ whose duty is to amend or alter the constitution and canons of RTCNAC where necessary.


The plaintiff held that the church’s General Synod, in line with its constitutional power, between September 18-23, 2017, held its session at Port Harcourt, River State wherein in further amended the constitution and canon of RTCNAC.


He averred that prior to the deliberation and passage of the amendment of the constitution and canons of the church, the proposal for the amendments were sent to all province and dioceses of the church in Nigeria for their in-puts and approval, and same were collated and informed the amendments passed by the General Synod at Port Harcourt sessions.

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However, according to the plaintiff, when the further amended constitution and canons of RTCNAC was published, a provision that was never deliberated upon and passed at the said general synod session at Port Harcourt was surreptitiously inserted as Paragraph 3 (2) of Canon III.


Obi-Okoye alleged that following the invidious smuggling of the section into the constitution and Canon of the church, a provision not legislated upon by the general synod in which the plaintiff participated in, there have been hues and cries across the entire stata of the church, calling for the removal of the obnoxious provision.


He added that the most vocal and ardent protesters were the lawyers in the church fold known as ‘Conference of Chancellor, Registrars and Legal Officers Joint Council of the Province East of the Niger’.

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Among the prayers of the plaintiff before the court are a declaration that only the general synod of the church has the competence and power to amend or alter the constitution and canon of RTCNAC and no other body or person.


A perpetual injunction restraining all the defendants their subordinates, workman, servants or privies from whatsoever putting into effect or relying on the provisions of the said paragraph in conduct of next election of primate of the church.