Knights of St. John in Nigeria to Resume Operation after Catholic Bishops Lift Suspension

Some members of the Knights of St. John’s International (KSJI) in Nigeria. Credit: KSJI

Members of the Knights of St. John’s International (KSJI) in Nigeria are to resume their activities in the West African nation after Catholic Bishops in the country lifted the suspension they had placed on the operation of the Catholic men’s fraternal organization.

In a memo issued February 16 this year, members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) suspended KSJI activities countrywide, citing failure to heed to the Bishops’ directives “requesting for reconciliation between the opposing sides within the order” and the fact that “the bylaws submitted to the CBCN have not yet been approved”.

In their Tuesday, September 13 statement, CBCN members urge the leadership of KSJI to “fully implement the agreements” that have now fueled peace in the organization.

“On 16 February 2022, we, the Catholic Bishops suspended the activities of the order of KSJI as a Catholic organization in Nigeria for its failure to comply with our 10-point directives issued at Enugu on 26 August 2021 as a way of resolving the lingering crisis in the Order,” CBCN members say in their one-page statement.

They add, “Considering that the KSJI has now complied with those directives, we hereby lift the suspension and beseech you to fully implement the agreements that have facilitated the much-desired peace process.”


In the February 16 memo announcing the suspension of the activities of KSJI in Nigeria, Catholic Bishops in the West African nation had noted efforts of the Local Ordinary of the country’s Otukpo Diocese to address the challenges the Order was facing.

In the memo that was signed by the then president of CBCN, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, and the Secretary of the Conference, Bishop Camillus Umoh, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria expressed their appreciation for “the efforts of Bishop Michael Apochi in handling the crisis in the Knighthood of St. John’s International. His sacrifices and unrelenting efforts at working for peace within the order are well noted with gratitude.”

While they expressed their awareness of KSJI having conducted elections for new leaders of the Order that stands for Catholic virtues of faith, hope, and love under a banner of fraternity, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said they did not recognize the elections.

They explained, “The directives given at the CBCN in Enugu requesting for reconciliation between the opposing sides within the order have not been heeded; the bylaws submitted to the CBCN have not yet been approved.”

“In light of the above, the Bishops call for a concerted effort toward reconciliation,” CBCN members said, adding, “This should be undertaken by members of the KSJI themselves (without episcopal supervision). Let the past be permanently laid to rest.”

More in Africa

They continued in their February 16 memo, “All aggrieved members should be called to the reconciliation table. The CBCN should be duly informed that a true and genuine reconciliation has been achieved. It is only on these grounds that the CBCN can begin to take steps toward recognising the elections conducted.”

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria called “for a spirit of humility, honesty and mutual forgiveness among and within the membership of the KSJl.”

“The CBCN has declared an indefinite suspension of KSJI at the national, provincial, Diocesan and parish levels. The said suspension will be in place until the Bishops are convinced that the order has actually achieved a genuine reconciliation,” CBCN members said February 16.

In their September 13 statement lifting the suspension, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria urge members of KSJI to “shun the spirit of division and rancour”.

“Whilst commending you to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, we earnestly urge you to shun the spirit of division and rancour so as to strengthen the bond of love that holds you together as a family and members of the Body of Christ,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria say in their statement signed by CBCN President, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji.


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.