Controversial Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka, has opened up on why some unruly youths on Wednesday attacked the official residence of the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese over the rumour of his (Mbaka’s) “disappearance”.
There was apprehension in Enugu city on Wednesday over the news that Mr Mbaka, who heads the Adoration Ministry, was “missing”, having not been seen at the adoration ground, apparently.
The apprehension, understandably, followed Mr Mbaka’s recent exchange of words with a presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, after the priest fell out with President Muhammadu Buhari and called for his resignation over the rising insecurity in Nigeria.
The angry youth marched to the bishop’s residence in the city and vandalised a section of the property on suspicion that the Bishop, Callistus Onaga, who had summoned Mr Mbaka to a meeting, may have handed over the fiery priest to security officials.
The bishop caused what happened – Mbaka
Mr Mbaka has, however, blamed the bishop, Mr Onaga, for the vandalisation of the bishop’s court.
He said the bishop ordered him “to leave adoration ground, parish house and be on silence for 30 days”, according to a report by the Vanguard newspaper.
Mr Mbaka said “if the bishop had listened to his pleas that they should allow him to go back to the adoration ground to attend a scheduled programme and then use the opportunity to inform the worshippers that he would be holding house prayers for 30 days, the destruction done to the property would not have happened.”
Mr Mbaka made the remark while addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters in Enugu after his reappearance.
“I appreciate your patience, endurance, incomparable love, unquestionable solidarity and unique identification and commitment to God in this ministry.
“God will keep you, bless you and it shall be well with you. You people have been looking for me, look at me here,” Mr Mbaka told the crowd.
“I wasn’t with my phone because I decided to go in to pray to avoid dissonance at that time.
“The miracle is that at the time I was with my phone calls were coming from here and there that you people were heading to Bishop’s court and Cathedral. Immediately I asked the group that I spoke with to ask you to go back. They insisted that they must see me otherwise they will not go. I spoke with them on video call but never knew they are over 47 groups.
“I thought that having blessed the first group that they have gone. It was at that moment that I started receiving calls. I told them I cannot go anywhere unless I hear from my Bishop.
“I thank God you have never attacked the wrong people. The DSS was not involved in what happened. But the Bishop gave an order that I should not come here from today. I should leave adoration house, parish house, that there will be no programme here for 30 days and I should stay silence for 30 days. So, I am telling you the truth of what happened.”
The priest said when the bishop learnt of the vandalisation that was going on he told him to go address the youth and take them to the adoration ground.
“When Bishop asked me to go and take you people back to Adoration, I asked him what happened now because you told me that I am going to stay away and silence for 30 days?
“Then, he said I should go first and tell you people to go because things are getting worst (sic).
“This is why people should understand how God works. I never disobeyed the church. People are busy misquoting me doing everything to close this ministry but by the grace of God they cannot do anything”
Mbaka a disgruntled contract-seeker – Presidential spokesperson
The presidential spokesperson, Mr Shehu, had described Mr Mbaka as disgruntled contract-seeker after the priest called for President Buhari’s resignation.
The priest did not deny discussing the contract award with the administration officials, but said he did it with the intention of helping to find a solution to Nigeria’s security challenges.
He said he had introduced three unnamed men to the administration, during Mr Buhari’s first term, with the hope that “they would help them in conquering insecurity, (since) they have the platform to end the insecurity in this country in under one month”.
It is most likely that Mr Onaga, in asking Mr Mbaka “to be in silence for 30 days”, was looking for means to tackle the controversy between the priest and the presidency.
Mr Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry operates independently, outside the control of the authorities of the Catholic Church.
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