Over 200 Anglican Clergymen Barricade Anambra government house gate over property seizure
*Accuse Obiano Of Marginalising Anglican Church
Priests of the Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, yesterday in Awka, protested against the alleged forceful seizure of the church’s property by the Anambra State Government in the commercial city of Onitsha. The clergymen, numbering over 200, arrived the Government House gate around 11.00am, carrying placards in protest against the alleged forceful takeover of Bishop Crowder Memorial School in Onitsha.
The placards had various inscriptions, such as ‘Gov. Obiano, stop disrupting our church services and activities,’ Bishop Crowder Memorial Primary School is not government property,’ among others.The priests, who barricaded the entrance gate of the Government House, insisted that only Governor Willie Obiano should address them, adding that no other official of the state government could address us, not even the deputy governor, Dr. Nkem Okeke.
Addressing journalists at the scene, leader of the priests and Archdeacon of Onitsha South Archdeaconry, Ven. Josiah Chukwukadibia Ofoegbu, said they were embittered about what is happening in the state and were in Government House to register their grievances over alleged marginalisation and politics of denomination under Obiano.
Ofoegbu also claimed that so many Anglicans in the state were denied All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) tickets for various positions in the just-concluded party primaries, describing such as a threat to peaceful coexistence.He said: “This present administration is turning Anambra State to a denominational state. It is unfortunate that this is happening 28 years after Bishop Ajayi Crowder, who built the school left Nigeria.
“The school was handed over to the Anglican Church. Both Anglicans and Catholics knew about that. When government seized school, it was seized from us and during hand over to schools, it was again handed over to us.“But it was quite unfortunate that Obiano sent thugs few weeks ago to send us out of the place. They disgraced us in our own property. They dispersed the worshippers and even threatened to kill us. This injustice must end.
“We want to let him know that we will worship there on Sunday (tomorrow). He should prepare for war. We are ready to die on that land. Obiano should stop that discrimination.”The priests further alleged that some Anglicans were denied ticket in Anambra because they are not Catholics, recalling that when people like Chief Jim Nwobodo and the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe were leaders, they never discriminated against anybody.
A mild drama played out during the protest, when the aggrieved priests refused to listen to an Archdeacon of the Anglican Communion and Obiano’s aide, Ven. Amaechi Okwosa sent by the governor to address them.However, Okwosa, who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, later told journalists that the governor had set up a committee to look into the matter with a view to finding a lasting solution.