‘War’Rocks Calabar Church, Peace Not In Sight

A bitter disagreement has fragmented the Sanctified Mount Zion Church of Nigeria, leaving sympathetic church members in two factions. One faction, www.calitown.com scooped, is aligned to Bassey Etokidem, President of the church, while the other faction appears to be on the side of nine of his siblings, all children of the late Bishop Evans Thompson Etokidem, founder of the church.

Our reporters gathered that, the bitter disagreement is not unrelated to the seeming decision of the current President, the only surviving son of the late founder, to shut his siblings out of the large estate of the late bishop, whose worth is believed to be in millions of naira. One church member who volunteered information but elected to remain anonymous informed www.calitown.com that, “this matter has been unresolved for more than seven years now. Even in 2011, pastor’s nine sisters took him to court for issues bothering around the administration of the vast estate our bishop left behind. Bishop has houses and plots in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, here in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Lagos and you just wonder what the problem is that the man does not want to shift ground.”

The source went on to reveal that, “if you people can dig and lay hands on the written statement on oath of our current President, taken in 2011, he swore on oath that he has no intention of sharing the estate among our late bishop’s children and wives; I think the bishop had five wives or so. But again, our President is swearing too that his father told him to keep the estate and administer it. Find out if there was a will to that effect, so that we can all rest this matter because only the truth can free us all.”

Another twist in the disturbing chain of events is the fact that Nkoyo Evans Etokidem, one of the bishop’s wife, appeared statutorily entitled to fixed sums of money as monthly salary, weekly allowance and payment for utility bills. There was also a healthy welfare package, yearly, from the church to her. There are claims too that, between 2011 and last year, these statutory payment were stopped and not even her illness and eventual death, changed things. Nkoyo’s only daughter, is through her lawyers accusing her brother of acceleration of death and constructive/simulation of murder. The matter is in court.

We were informed by security sources that the President has been taken into custody a few times, even accepting to make the payments. “It is funny that the man has suddenly changed his mind because he has influential judiciary connections that we suspect he is now using. You know his church was the one the state governor visited during the new legal year and made a donation of ten million naira or so. It is not every church that the governor visits. You people can do your investigations from there, it will help you unearth the people in the judiciary that we suspect are protecting this man”, a source volunteered.

An influential member of the church who initially promised to have Bassey Etokidem speak with www.calitown.com, was unable to fulfill his promise and refused to pick his calls when we called. Meanwhile, the ugly situation does not look like it will go away soon.

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