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Church of Nigeria Bishop Leads Violent Sectarian Mob Attacking Anglican Church in New Jersey

Anglican Office for Government & International Affairs
Dec. 9, 2022

IRVINGTON, N.J., Dec. 9, 2022 /Christian Newswire/ -- What began as a joyful church service celebrating baptisms and confirmations at Christ Anglican Church, a member of the Anglican Church in North America, ended in heartbreak as violence erupted and the church was attacked on Sunday, December 4, 2022 by an angry mob led by Church of Nigeria (CoN) Bishop Dr. Augustine Unigbe who attempted to illegally seize the church.

Christ Anglican Church is a member of the Anglican Diocese of the Rocky Mountains. Bishop Ken Ross, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Rocky Mountains, was leading the worship service when CoN Bishop Dr. Augustine Unigbe, who is also a medical doctor in New Jersey, and a group of 14 CoN members forced their way into the church attempting to illegally seize the church property. Bishop Unigbe stormed the platform yelling "I have come to take over the church and shut this service down."

In a video obtained by the Anglican Office for Government & International Affairs, Bishop Unigbe is clearly seen pushing and shoving church members and at one point to raises his Bishop's staff, striking a church member trying to stop the illegal trespassing.

The video shows the violent mob continuing to illegally trespass and attempting to move past law enforcement and church officials. The video also shows that, despite multiple requests from law enforcement officers who were already on the scene, Bishop Unigbe and 14 of his followers refused to obey lawful police orders to leave the church. Eventually the mob was dispersed and the trespassers were forced by police to vacate the premises.

Complicating the issue further is that the violent incident appears to be pre-meditated and orchestrated by another Church of Nigeria Bishop according to a letter from the Church of Nigeria dated 29 November, 2022. The letter, written by The Rt. Rev'd Nathan C. O. Kanu, Interim Coordinating Bishop, Church of Nigeria North America Mission (CONNAM) to Bishop Ken Ross of the ACNA directing him to stay away from Christ Anglican Church, saying:

"Whatever the purpose or intention, we are troubled that the visit may be misconstrued... The optics may then ensue in additional protests or, worse, physical confrontations."

Bishop Kanu is the supervisor of The Right Reverend Dr. Augustine Unigbe. The letter was also sent to The Most Rev. Henry Ndukuba, who is the Primate of the Church of Nigeria.

It is unclear at this point whether the Church of Nigeria will respond appropriately by removing Bishops Kanu and Unigbe from leadership. While everyone is innocent until proven guilty in our system of law, the evidence is overwhelming and very public. The CoN would be wise to remove them at least over the next few months while authorities and prosecutors vigorously move the matter through the courts. Given Bp Kanu's assignment is from the Primate of the CoN, there are serious questions if this was initiated at the highest levels of the CoN. If so, this one incident may prompt the State Department and FBI to become involved.

This situation is ongoing and the case is before local prosecutors. More information can be found at aogia.org.

SOURCE Anglican Office for Government & International Affairs

CONTACT: Justin Murff, 202-227-7878, info@aogia.org