Abuja Baptist Church Crisis Escalates After Election Of New Reverend
Leadership and procedural crises rocking the First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja appear to be escalating as efforts aimed at reconciling the warring factions broke down during the week.
Crisis broke out following the election of the former senior pastor, Reverend Israel Akanji as president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention and subsequent anointing of Rev. Tom Takpatore as acting pastor.
A group of concerned elders had earlier approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to halt the confirmation of acting pastor of the church, Reverend Tom Takpatore claiming that the process of his appointment was skewed to give him unfair advantage over his competitors.
Among many other allegations, documents available to this newspaper also accused the church leadership of failing to follow the church’s constitution in its day to day activities including the former pastor making himself signatory to the account contrary to guidelines.
They are equally insisting that the handover notes from the former pastor should be made available to members for scrutiny.
On Thursday, April, 2022, the court then ordered parties to maintain status-quo antebellum pending the next date of hearing.
The plaintiffs in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/432/2022, had sued the Incorporated Trustees of First Baptist Church, Garki, Abuja and current “acting pastor” Rev. Tom Takpatore as first and second respondents.
Following this, a reliable source within the church told our correspondent that a mediation committee was then set up to find an amicable solution to the crisis
However, the series of meeting which held on Friday, 15th April, 2022, Monday, 18th April, 2022 and Tuesday, 19th April, 2022 respectively ended abruptly and in a stalemate after the representatives of the Church leadership refused to consider the terms of settlement of the concerned elders but insisted they withdraw the case unconditionally.
Reliable church members explained that while a faction of the leadership was considering negotiation with the elders, a hardline faction preferred to join the case and have a judicial settlement.
Earlier at a church-in-conference on March 20, this year, it was a free for all as a particular faction in the dispute allegedly invited thugs to prevent the opponents from having their way.
Sources however said the National Baptist Convention may be compelled to intervene in order to forestall a further breakdown of law and order in the First Baptist Church.
“The dilemma however is that the current president of the convention will ultimately chair the decision-making body on the issue but given the fact that he is at the centre of the controversy, there are fears that justice may not be done.
“All eyes are now on the convention which is about to commence its 109th session failing which the protagonists will face off in court as scheduled,” the source disclosed.
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