Diocese on the Niger

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Diocese On the Niger is the mother diocese (oldest diocese) of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). It is one of 10 Anglican dioceses in the Province of Niger within the Church of Nigeria. The diocese was created in 1864 as the Diocese of Western Equatorial Africa. In 1920 the Diocese of Equatorial West Africa was divided into two: an eastern part (the continuing Diocese, now named the Diocese on the Niger) and a western part (a new Diocese, named the Diocese of Lagos). A part of the Diocese on the Niger was subsequently carved out in 1946 to create the Niger Delta Diocese.[1]

Originally part of Province Two of the Church of Nigeria when the church was divided into three provinces in 1997, Diocese on the Niger became a diocese in the Province of Niger when the Church was reorganised in 2002.

The cathedral church of the diocese is the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Ozala, Onitsha. Started in 1949, the completed cathedral was dedicated for worship on 1 November, 1992. [2]

The Bishop on the Niger is the Ordinary of the Diocese. The current (2017) bishop is the Right Revd Owen Chidozie Nwokolo.


The history of the Diocese on the Niger dates back to the Niger expeditions of 1830 – 1857. After the 1841 expedition, the white missionaries realized that Africa was best evangelized by Africans. This realization led to Samuel Ajayi Crowther being given the privilege of playing a prominent role in the mission team to West Africa especially, the Igbo mission. The mission train under the leadership Dr. William Baikie arrived Onitsha on Sunday, 26th July, 1857. On 27th July, 1857 the King of Onitsha, Obi Akazua and his elders-in-council gave the party a warm official welcome. Hence, 27th July came to be regarded as the beginning of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) mission in Igbo land. It is important to note that J.C Taylor of Igbo origin played a vital role in the early mission activities in Igbo land. Rev J.C Taylor laid the foundation of the first Church in Igbo land in 1867, which was dedicated on 16th November, 1870.

Samuel Crowther was ordained for the Niger mission on Trinity Sunday in 1844, and consecrated as the first ever black Anglican bishop on the Feast of St Peter, June 29, 1864, by Charles Longley, the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Canterbury Cathedral. By this consecration, he became the bishop of the Diocese of Equatorial West Africa, with its headquarters in Onitsha. The Diocese of Equatorial West Africa is the forerunner of the Diocese on the Niger. The

List of Bishops[edit]

The Anthem of the Diocese on the Niger[edit]

Lift high the banner, above let it fly;

Diocese on the Niger, laud to the skies.

First in the East banks, the Gospel did know

Bless we, He whom through Crowther, made it so.

Mother and Nurse of many infant Sees

Teacher of doctrine, unsullied by grease

Captain of Knights, in the Lord’s martial train

Niger! Oh Niger! We hail you again! LUX FIAT!


  1. ^ "The Romance of the Black River". Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "ALL SAINTS' CATHEDRAL, ONITSHA". All Saint's Cathedral. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Archbishop Onyemelukwe dies at 81". Vanguard. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Diocese: On the Niger". Anglican Communion. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 

External links[edit]