Human Rights and Justice Advocates (HRJA) and Catholics in Support of Equality in the Church (CSEC), have warned members of the Adoration Ministry of Nigeria Enugu (AMEN), to stop insulting the Catholic Church and the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese Most Rev. Callistus Onaga for the recent transfer of Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka from Christ the King Parish GRA where he has stayed 20 years to Our Lady of Rosary Emene Enugu State.
Vanguard reports the groups assaying that instead of vilifying and insulting Bishop Onaga, by accusing him of bowing to the pressure of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Igbo Socio-Cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to transfer Rev. Mbaka, they should praise him for being courageous to transfer the fairy priest, whom they alleged is becoming an embarrassment to Catholic Church with his utterances on issues that have nothing to do with religion.
HRJA in a statement after addressing newsmen in Nnewi, and signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Anthony Ogomegbulam, said: “somebody must have to do what Most Rev. Onaga did if other Bishops have spared the priest in previous priests transfers, otherwise the respectable Catholic Church will be made la aughing stock by the priest’s uncontrollable and unwarranted comments that does not seem goodly”.
“Why must the priest’s transfer generate so much dust? Is he the only Catholic priest that has been transferred from his former place to a new place? Among the Anglican priests, transfer is also a routine exercise done by the Bishops. Why is Mbaka’s own seen as politically or otherwise motivated?
“Why are some people especially AMEN members angry that a Bishop did his legal duty of transferring a priest from where he has spent over twenty years to another place? Is that parish he was transferred from his private business? Who said another priest cannot do what he iwa doing at Christ the King Parish?
“When did the Catholic Church become a private business that a priest will be transferred and the head of the Bishop that effected the transfer will be sought after even by a political party? As a matter of fact Rev. Mbaka deserved to be suspended for the embarrassment he and his supporters are causing the Catholic Church just because of his transfer.
“It is unheard of that a priest in the Catholic Church will openly condemn a decision taken by his Bishop. Priests are known for their obedience to the church and the Bishop. The people who are condemning the Bishop and saying all sorts of unprintable things are setting bad precedent in the Catholic fold that is known for obedience/ They are not wordly people, neither are they politicians, but what is happening with Rev. Mbaka’s transfer gives impression that some priests are card carrying members of political parties” he said.
HRJA regretted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain in the South East was the first person and party member that publicly reacted through newspaper publications, adding that it does not speak well of the party, because it amounts to meddling with church decision.
Also reacting, leader of CSEC, Mr. Augustin Ezumezu said APC exposed Rev. Mbaka’s hidden identity in the party, saying that his comments and age long condemnations of anything PDP have been exposed.
“Can anybody explain the reason behind Rev. Mbaka’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja shortly after his fake prophesies about the threat to the life of the President and other things? How many Catholic or Anglican Priests if not bishops have ever made similar visits to the sitting President in Nigeria? Priests do not visits Governors as easy as that let alone the President. Why did he not go with other priests or even his bishop or any other Catholic bishop? Is he is not in good terms with Bishop Onaga, if that visit was not politically motivated, and selfish one.
“It is laughable for anybody to say that Rev. Mbaka’s recent transfer was an attempt to make him suffer. Suffer for what? Is transfer not done in Catholic and Anglican churches in Nigeria? And it icommon knowledge that transfer always comes with adaptation problem to the new site of anybody that was relocated to a new place. So why will Mbaka’s own be different that heaven will fall for it?
“Please we urge the APC and the youth they are sponsoring against Bishop Onaga to stop that dangerous game they are playing to avoid causing problem among the Catholics that have been one united family.
“We urge Bishop Onaga to ignore those criticizing him for Rev. Fr. Mbaka’s transfer, and never to make the mistake of reversing the transfer if he does not want to destroy the church. If going to a new parish also in Enugu not even outside Enugu town means punishment, let Mbaka take the punishment other priest have taken,” said CSEC.
CSEC recalled that this is a priest that has never spared most South East past and present political officer holders who in his judgments were not doing well.
“Former Governor of Imo State Chief Ikedi Ohakim government’s was practically brought down following allegations of beating a Catholic priest all coming from AMEN. Their proclamations against the former Governor cost him second tenure in Imo state, and when the same former Governor visited AMEN in Enugu the fiery priest claimed he was deceived to say all the negative things against Ohakim, probably after money had changed hands. There is always a payback time, we hail Bishop Onaga, if former Bishops saw him as untouchable” they said.