Bishop Ogunyemi had said governor el-Rufai was being groomed to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 but he would never be president.
The Kaduna state government has filed criminal charges against Abiodun Ogunyemi, bishop of Zaria diocese, Anglican communion, 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 Cable Reported.
The bishop had in a statement in November 2019, criticised the governor over the planned demolition of St George Cathedral in Zaria.
Ogunyemi had said governor el-Rufai was being groomed to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 but he would never be president.
The government has since rescinded on its plans to demolish the 110-year-old cathedral because of its historical value.
After several interrogations from the police, Ogunyemi was arraigned with the approval of the 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 in as surety.
However, the director of public prosecutions who led the state legal team told the court that there were ongoing consultations which could lead to a peaceful resolution of the case.
John Omughele, counsel to Ogunyemi conceded to the submission of the prosecution.
The magistrate has adjourned the case to October 28, 2020, for continuation.
Nigeria ranks as the 12th worst country in the world on Open Doors USA’s 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians are most severely persecuted. Nigeria was in December, listed in the U.S. State Department’s special watch list of countries that tolerate or engage in severe violations of religious freedom due to the “lack of effective government response and the lack of judicial cases being brought forward in that country”.