How plot to silence Mbaka failed, Catholic Bishop’s house, Holy Ghost Cathedral attacked by protesters

By AdvocateNews on 06/05/2021

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Protesters at the Bishop’s independence Layout residence in Enugu on Wednesday
Protesters at the Bishop’s independence Layout residence in Enugu on Wednesday

The secret plot by the leadership of the Catholic Church in Enugu Diocese to tame the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Fr. Ejike Mbaka appears to have failed as his followers vehemently rejected the move which, they believe, was orchestrated by some powerful forces within and outside the government who are not comfortable with his recent attack on the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. 

Mbaka, who disappeared on Tuesday reappeared following protests by different groups of supporters and parishioners in Enugu on Wednesday, revealed that the leadership of the Catholic Church was responsible for his ordeal.

He exonerated the security agencies saying he was not arrested or detained by security operatives as speculated by some of his followers. 

The fiery priest, however, alleged that there was a serious conspiracy by leadership of the church to silence him by shutting down the popular Adoration Ministry and send him to Rome, where his voice would no longer be heard.

This plot, The Advocate learnt, followed pressures mounted on the Catholic Bishop, Rev. Callistus Onaga by some powerful people in government  and within the church to cut the excesses of the priest. 

The Bishop reportedly invited Mbaka to a meeting at his residence at 10am on Tuesday to discuss the matter but it turned out that the controversial priest was kept incommunicado for several hours after the meeting.

This prompted his supporters and aides to raise an alarm over his safety especially when his telephone lines could not be reached for several hours.

His parishioners and those who had benefited immensely from his charitable activities including tricycle operators, quickly mobilized his supporters from different parts of the Enugu capital city and headed for the Bishop’s residence and the Holy Ghost Cathedral to demand his release Wednesday afternoon.

When they could not get any positive response from the Bishop regarding Mbaka’s whereabouts, they became violent and attacked the building.

Eyewitnesses said having received no positive response and fearing that the bishop may have handed the priest to security agents, the protesters had descended on Bishop’s Court and vandalised property, especially glasses, doors, the Bishop’s office before marching to destroy a bookshop, guest house, two buildings, four big water tanks and other facilities at Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu. Some workers there sustained various degrees of injury during the attack.

There was heavy presence of joint security forces of the army, police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Services both at the Bishop’s Court and the Holy Ghost Cathedral. 

The priest, who later arrived to a rousing welcome at the Adoration Ground around 7:15pm narrated how he was invited to a meeting with the Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Callistus Onaga, where he was ordered to vacate the adoration ground and remain silent for 30 days.

He said he was surprised to see other persons at the meeting which he thought was only between him and the Bishop.

He said there was a plan to shut the adoration ground over his recent comments against the government.

His words: “They ordered me to leave the Adoration Ground for 30 days; to be silent for 30 days and to leave Enugu. Their plan was to even send me to Rome after the 30 days.

“I asked them why I was being punished. They cannot not tell me who to bless. They are angry that I blessed Nnamdi Kanu. I am a priest of God and nobody can tell me who to bless. Is it your blessing? Are you the one giving him life? Are you the one giving him life? Go and take away God’s blessings from him.

“If you said I spoke against government is there no insecurity in the country? Are they angry that I said government should provide jobs for the youths? I am a priest of God and I will continue to bless and speak the truth.

“I saw the implication of keeping me there. I told them that my people will look for me if they don’t allow me to attend today’s programme (E no dey again).

“What would have happened if I had has left Enugu as they instructed? We are a people of peace so I want you all to be peaceful. We wilI meet here again on Sunday God willing.”

Following speculations that Mbaka was picked up by the Department of State Service, DSS, the spokesman of the agency, Peter Afunanya, had denied that the cleric was in their custody. 

Fears of his possible arrest arose as Mbaka last week Wednesday called for the resignation or impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over worsening security challenges in the country.

Last Sunday, the DSS issued a warning to individuals and groups to be mindful of utterances and actions that threatened the country’s peace and sovereignty.

Meanwhile, authorities of the Catholic Church in Enugu Diocese were yet to speak on the development by press time but security has been beefed up at both the Bishop's Court and the church premises located near the Ogbete main market, Enugu.

Posted 06/05/2021 07:10:53 AM


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