Photo Credit: Orsu 24 News
By Justice Nwafor
A clearer picture of what transpired at a Catholic Church in Ngwoma in Owerri North LGA of Imo State last weekend has appeared with the church issuing a statement on how the Archbishop of the Owerri Archdiocese, Anthony Obinna was allegedly abused by some identified persons.
There have been counter claims concerning the incident that happened during the burial of the mother of a top flight politician of the APC and the Pro Chancellor of the Imo State University, Owerri, Alex Mbata.
There were allegations that the cleric not only missed being attacked by suspected agents of the state government but was bashed with unprintable words from the aggressive group who attempted to snatch the microphone he held during the church service.
Confirming the incident, the Director of Media and Communications for the Archdiocese, Rev Dr George Nwachukwu said: “What happened on Saturday was on the Archbishop who went for a burial of the mother of one Alex Mbata.
“During the course of the mass, actually the mass had finished, and before the dismissal, the Archbishop rose up and then was telling the people that everyone should get his PVC and be ready to vote, come out en mass and vote, other than hiding in the crowd, you know; don’t subsume in an anonymity. So when he finished, that, he began again to tell them that this is high time we do things the normal way; We don’t have to bring out anybody; your in-law; your brother and impose him or her on anybody. You have to follow the normal primaries and all the electoral processes.
“So when he finished that, he said again that inspite of the fact that we have Commissioner of Happiness, people are always sad; things are not going on well, workers are not paid, people are being maltreated and the roads so bad.”
Fr George continued, ” immediately his Grace finished saying that, we saw a young man who came up to challenge what the Archbishop said, and another one came up as well. At this point, there was uproar and the boys, (or well people said they are APC) I don’t know who they are came up, even to the altar insulting the Archbishop and calling him all kinds of names. They even wanted to meet him at the altar but he (Archbishop) was sitting, but some priests, Christian Fathers, Knights and some good spirited individuals came and stopped them from coming, but in all, there was a total uproar in the Church”.
Fr George also affirmed that although he wasn’t able to recognize all, they were able to identify one Jeff Nwoha who he described as their leader while others followed.
Jeff Nwoha is the MD of Imo Environmental Transformation Committee (Imo ENTRACO) and a member of Imo Chief of staff’s (Uche Nwosu) political structure – Ugwumba Movement.
Responding to further questions on whether the Archbishop was truly beaten as alleged, the Rev. Fr. responded, “No no no no! the Archbishop wasn’t beaten, but the assaults, insults, the calumny, the dehumanization is far more than beating”.
Speaking on the Archbishop’s reaction to the incident, Fr Nwachukwu said, like a man of God which he is, like a true servant of God who represents Christ, he took it in the spirit with which Christ accepted His cross down to the calvary.