The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Martins, in a “disclaimer”, directed the priest to proceed on “an indefinite leave of absence”.
Anelu was reported to have banned Igbo songs and choruses in his parish, arguing that the excesses of Ndigbo must be contained.
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It was learnt that he had angrily stopped a soul-lifting chorus during the second collection, noting that Igbos cannot keep dominating other people in his Catholic parish.
He reportedly cited the case of his Benin Diocese where Igbos dominate to the point of becoming the Bishop, allegedly claiming that the spirit of God recognises only geographical languages of the parish.
While announcing the suspension, Martins, in the letter dated February 7, said, “It has been brought to our notice that Rev Fr James Anelu, the priest-in-charge of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-Owa, Ikorodu, made some completely unacceptable comments about Igbo songs being sung in the Church and unsavoury remarks that do not represent the Catholic church’s position on the common brotherhood of peoples of all tribes and religions.
“For this reason, he has been asked to proceed on an indefinite leave of absence to give an opportunity for a thorough investigation of all the matters relating to his ministry on the parish. The leave of absence takes effect from Tuesday, February 8, 2021, till further notice.”
“We, therefore, urge all Catholic faithful to hold on to the faith and continue in worship of God as one big family united and not separated by language, culture, or race.”