Canon Akintunde Popoola repeats allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla

Canon Akintunde Popoola, Director of Communications for the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) has repeated the allegations of fraud against Davis Mac-Iyalla in a comment posted on 7 July 2007 on the web site TitusOneNine http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/3597. He implies that Davis was not a knight of the diocese of Otukpo, ran away when asked to account for money diverted from school or diocesan accounts for his personal use, committed fraud, and has failed to telephone the bishop since 2003 to clear his name.

The only person to have published these allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla is Canon Akintunde Popoola himself. Neither the bishop nor the diocese have contacted Davis and put any such allegations to him, nor have they made any public statement alleging that Davis has acted in a dishonest or fraudulent way.

Davis Mac-Iyalla was dismissed from his post as administrator of the diocese of Otukpo and principal of the diocesan school in August 2003 following the death of bishop Ugede. He was notified of his dismissal in a letter delivered to Davis’s house in Otukpo by Canon Michael Offor, the Canon in Residence at St John’s Cathedral, Otukpo. The letter was forwarded to Davis at his home in Port Harcourt where he was on holiday. If theft and fraud perpetuated by Davis had been discovered, it would have been easy for the diocesan officials to write to him about such matters at the same time, but they didn’t.

The allegations of theft and corruption against Davis were not made public until the Disclaimer published on the Church of Nigeria web site by Canon Tunde on 28 December 2005, more than two years after the fraud and theft were supposed to have taken place. Davis Mac-Iyalla was resident in Port Harcourt for the whole of those two years. If fraudulent activity had come to light, it was easy for the officials in Otukpo to have travelled to Port Harcourt where Davis was worshipping at St Cyprian‘s Church or to St Andrew‘s Anglican Church, Bakana, Davis’s home church, questioned him, put the allegations to him and charged him..

The present bishop of Otukpo diocese, the Rt Revd David K Bello, was consecrated in St Cyprian’s church in autumn 2003. Davis Mac-Iyalla, although he had been in hospital with a fever, discharged himself and was present at the end of the service. Davis was well-known to the diocesan authorities and the bishops present for the consecration. They had every opportunity to have Davis arrested if they believed a crime had been committed, but they didn‘t.

For over two years the diocese made no attempt to contact Davis or put such allegations to him. If we are to believe that Canon Tunde’s allegations are true, the diocesan officials in Otukpo were grossly negligent in not pursuing Davis and recovering the money and documents which Tunde claims Davis had stolen.

Changing Attitude has already published documents proving that everything Davis has said about himself is true. It is not the responsibility of Davis Mac-Iyalla to prove his innocence when no charges have been laid against him except by Canon Tunde in a Church of Nigeria press release. Davis has no reason to return to Otukpo to prove his innocence because the diocese has not made any allegations against him nor charged him with an offence.

Davis Mac-Iyalla founded Changing Attitude Nigeria in August 2005, two years after he had been dismissed from Otukpo. In November 2005, Changing Attitude Nigeria held a General Meeting attended by over 1,000 LGBT people in Abuja. Canon Akintunde Popoola published his allegations against Davis in December 2005. We assume there is a relationship between the formation of Changing Attitude Nigeria, the General Meeting, the publicity given to the meeting in the Nigerian press, the New York Times and online, and the publication by Canon Tunde of the Disclaimer one month later.

Davis Mac-Iyalla has recently attended the meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England in York. Davis met the Rt Revd Ben Kwashie, bishop of Jos at a meeting organised by Anglican Mainstream on Monday 9 July 2007. The bishop was unaware that the Disclaimer had been published or that any allegations had been made against Davis, or that he was wanted by the diocese of Otukpo to answer allegations of fraud. He recognised Davis as a well-known member of the church who had been bishop Ugede’s administrator.

Canon Tunde seems to be pursuing a relentless personal campaign to discredit Davis and destroy his reputation. Canon Tunde has produced no evidence that the diocese of Otukpo has evidence of fraud or theft against Davis and is seeking to have him arrested. Canon Tunde says efforts to get Davis to clear himself have been rebuffed. No charges have been laid against Davis apart from by Canon Tunde. We assume that the same rule applies in Nigeria as in the UK – a person is deemed innocent until proved guilty. Canon Tunde, a senior member of the Church of Nigeria, is seeking to invert this rule. For him, Davis is guilty until he, Davis, returns to Otukpo to prove his innocence although no formal charges have been laid against him.

Davis Mac-Iyalla met Archbishop Peter Akinola and Bishop Martyn Minns at the Primates’ meeting in Tanzania in February 2007. Neither of them was aware that Davis might be the subject of a charge of fraud by the diocese of Otukpo.

The Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, wrote an open letter to the Most Revd Peter Akinola, Primate of All Nigeria, the Rt Revd Martyn Minns and Canon Akintunde Popoola on June 2007 urging them to issue a statement condemning all false allegations made against Davis Mac-Iyalla and stating that any Anglican who contemplates killing Davis or threatens violence against him is disobeying the 6th commandment and would commit a crime against God and humanity.

It is time for the Archbishop and Bishop to exercise their authority. Once again we ask them to instruct Canon Tunde to stop publishing false allegations against Davis Mac-Iyalla, allegations which have provoked threats to kill Davis. We ask them to instruct him to cease implying that Davis is not the person he claims to be. In addition to the Primate of All Nigeria, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of York, bishop Martyn Minns, bishop Ben Kwashie and many Church of England bishops at the General Synod in York, all of whom have met Davis this year, thousands of Anglicans have met Davis on his recent speaking tour of the USA. They are witnesses to his openness and honesty.

Appendix

Canon Akintunde’s post on TitusOneNine:

“I take objection to being called a liar. The question asked remained unanswered. Which Church does he attend?

Your friend claimed to be a knight of a diocese which not only denied that, but showed me documents of alleged fraud perpetuated by him. His bolting away was because he was called to account for monies he diverted to his personal use. I interviewed many people in Otukpo but none knew him there as homosexual. Efforts to get him to clear himself have been rebuffed. Not even a phone call to the Bishop since 2003! Over time, he has proved everything I said. Remember your defence of the last one about his original plans for asylum?

If he succeeded in fooling you, the disclaimer remains to avoid you saying you were not warned. If others are think otherwise(r), why get “worried”? You assume he must be telling the truth because he is gay. The disclaimer is not about his homosexuality but about FRAUD. Your ‘evidence’ only showed a smart guy who dodged issues by producing pictures outside the issue.

Let me add my own questions?

Has he introduced you to any gay partner? How much have you helped raise for the Nigerian cause? How much of it has been spent directly by Davis? ENJOY YOUR TRUST WHILE IT LASTS”

END

Contacts:Davis Mac-Iyalla, Director of Changing Attitude Nigeria
+44 (0)7948237399

Revd Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England
+44 (0)7770 844302

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