The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, has condemned the recent criticism of its decision to transfer a Priest of its Enugu Diocese, Ejike Mbaka.
Mr. Mbaka was transferred from his former parish, Christ the Kind, to Our lady’s Parish Emene, in the same diocese.
The transfer of the priest from his parish of over a decade, where he introduced the popular Adoration-prayer Ministries Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN) met with various criticisms from those who regarded it as a punitive measure by the church against Mr. Mbaka.
Critics had at various points attributed the transfer to Mr. Mbaka’s repeated sermons where he condemned the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, and proclaimed a revelation that the former President will lose the 2015 presidential election.
Mr. Mbaka had not only stated ahead of the 2015 election that Mr. Jonathan would lose, but condemned the former president’s performance in office particularly on corruption matters.
When Mr. Jonathan lost in the election, Mr. Mbaka’s courage was praised by President Muhammadu Buhari, who received the priest at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The fiery priest’s subsequent transfer was condemned by critics including the South East chapter of Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, who claimed Mr. Mbaka was being victimised.
In its earlier reaction to controversies trailing the transfer, Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Ralph Madu, told PREMIUM TIMES that the transfer is a “normal church procedure.”
Addressing the church at its opening session of the CBCN on Sunday, President of the Conference, Ignatius Kaigama, condemned Mr. Mbaka’s prophecies stressing that the church and particularly its priests and leaders must avoid the what he regarded as the “melodramatic displays that resembles modern broadway shows.”
“Those priests who tend to compete with so-called trendy pastors to dream dreams, see visions and utter prophecies are reminded that not all dreams, visions and prophecies are revelations from God.
“They are sometimes the product of one’s psychological disposition, brain waves or even the result of mental fatigue and should not be confused with absolute reality,” said Mr. Kaigama, a bishop.
He called on leaders in all facets of the nation to work for the unity of Nigeria.
“We need to think positively about the Nigerian project and act in a manner that builds rather than destroys,” he stated.
Also in his brief remark at the introduction of guests, the Assistant Secretary General of the CBCN and Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Felix Ajakaiye, said, “When I am transferred I am transferred; no sensation should be attached.”
Speaking earlier at the sermon, during the opening mass, Bishop of Abuja Arch Diocese, John Onaiyekan, said Nigerians have a right to be angry at the ‘criminal corruption,’ which led to diversion of funds meant for the purchase of arms, stressing that it is the hope of all well meaning Nigerians that such fraudulent acts are now a thing of the past.
“Our gallant troops must never again be left with inadequate resources to carry out the dangerous acts imposed on them on our behalf,” he said.
Mr. Onaiyekan called on the current administration to keep up its legal efforts to thoroughly investigate the crimes of the past, transparently prosecute accused persons and hold the guilty accountable according to the law.
He reiterated his earlier call for collaboration with the church and religious bodies in the effort to bring about a transformation of minds and action by Nigerians.
As part of its annual practice, Mr. Onaiyekan said the CBCN will make suggestions at the end of its session on January 17, on ways to move the nation forward.