Kaduna State Government has filed criminal charges against the Bishop of Zaria Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Abiodun Ogunyemi, over “defamatory remarks” made against Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
Ogunyemi was arraigned before a chief magistrate’s court in Kaduna on charges bordering on criminal defamation, injurious falsehood and criminal intimidation.
The bishop had in a statement in November 2019, criticised the governor over the planned demolition of St George Cathedral in Zaria.
The cleric had said El-Rufai was being groomed to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023, but he would never be president.
The Kaduna State Government has since reversed plans to demolish the 110-year-old cathedral because of its historical value.
After several interrogations by the police, Ogunyemi was arraigned with the approval of the state’s Ministry of Justice.
He pleaded not guilty and was granted bail.
A member of the Kaduna Synod and a canon of the Cathedral Church of St Michael, Kaduna stood for him as surety.
But the state’s director of public prosecutions, who led the state’s legal team, told the court that consultations, which could lead to a peaceful resolution of the case, were already going on.
The cleric’s counsel, John Omughele, conceded to the submission of the prosecution.
The magistrate has adjourned the case to October 28, 2020 for continuation.