Obiano, Anglican Church Feud Deepens

  • As Protesters Warn Bishop Nwokolo to Stop Casting Aspersions On Obiano
  • Protesters Are Hirelings Bent on Tarnishing Image of Anglican Church – Anglican Communion  

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

A group under the auspices of Concerned Christian and Non-Christian Citizens of Anambra State, have embarked on a peaceful protest to the police headquarters Amawbia Awka where it submitted a protest letter to the state commissioner of police Garba Baba Umar.

The group comprising young men and women and bearing placards of various inscriptions amongst which was ‘Bishop Owen Nwokolo is a politician’ urged the Nigeria police to call Bishop Nwokolo to order as they were not unaware of the rumour, blackmail, campaign of calumny and baseless information he was allegedly feeding the public with aimed at casting aspersions on the governor.

The group’s protest letter jointly signed by the coordinator Ernest Anafonye and the secretary Onyedika Nwosu read in part “The said Bishop Owen Nwokolo deliberately with the intention to incite the public has taken to both the traditional and social media to spread false rumours claiming that Governor Willie Obiano is marginalizing members of the Anglican Church in Anambra state.

“Bishop Owen Nwokolo in his unquenchable desires for land-grabbing and insatiable want for possessions hiding under the guise of priesthood has continued to trespass on government land and properties only to turn around to resort to emotional blackmail whenever caught in the act.

“We are not unaware that the unnecessary controversy started by Bishop Owen Nwokolo and orchestrated by his wife has everything to do with inability of their preferred aspirants to clinch tickets for various positions in the just concluded primary elections of the All Progressives Grand Alliance for the 2019 general elections.”

The group however expressed worry that a clergy would be fanning the embers of war in a peaceful state for alleged selfish reasons. It also noted that the activities of Bishop Owen Nwokolo in spending time and resources to incite the Anglican congregation and the public against Governor Willie Obiano, the government of Anambra state and the Catholic Church were capable of instigating religious war in the state.

The protesters maintained that the activities of Bishop Owen Nwokolo was unbecoming and intolerable and to that extent urged the Anambra police commissioner CP Garba Baba Umar to call him and his cronies to order to avoid religious war and breakdown of law and order in the state.

Baba Umar however assured the protesters that the police would take necessary action but enjoined the irate youths to maintain peace.

Umar explained that the police were not unmindful of the crisis of understanding between the Anglican Church and the government of Anambra state with respect to a property in Onitsha which both parties claim ownership.

The police commissioner further explained that he has had a series of meetings with the parties involved and advised that any party amongst them that feels aggrieved should seek redress in court as only the court can determine ownership of the property in contention.

He said the Police were neutral in the matter as land matters according to him were not within the jurisdiction of the Nigeria police even though he warned that any person who attempts to cause breach of public peace wouldn’t go scot-free; while assuring the protesters that the matter would be properly investigated and the outcome of the investigation would be communicated to them in due course.

Meanwhile, after a meeting by the House of Bishops comprising The Most Rev. Prof. G.I.N. Okpala, the Archbishop, Province of the Niger and Bishop of Nnewi Diocese; Rt. Rev. Henry Okeke, Bishop of Mbamili Diocese; Rt. Rev. Alex Ibezim Ph.D, Bishop of Awka Diocese; Rt. Rev. Johnson Ekwe, Bishop of Niger West Diocese; Rt. Rev. Prof. Israel Okoye, Bishop of Ihiala Diocese; Rt. Rev. Prosper Amah,  Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese; Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, Bishop On the Niger Diocese and the representatives of the Bishops of the Diocese of Aguata and Amichi respectively, the House of Clergy and House of Laity of the Province of the Niger, Anglican Communion, it was resolved as follows:

1. The demonstration going on at Awka today against Bishop Owen Nwokolo, Bishop of the Diocese on the Niger is not by Anglicans, but by hirelings who called themselves concerned Christian and non-Christian citizens of Anambra state co-ordinated by one Mr. Ernest Anafonye and Onyedika Nwosu as their Secretary. They are bent on tarnishing the image of the Anglican Church, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo and the Diocese on the Niger, who are the rightful owner of the land at Nkisi Road, G.R.A. Onitsha where there is Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School since 1926 with a duly registered document in 1927.

2. The publication in the Sunday Sun Newspapers the 4th Day of November, 2018 authored by the so called Rev Zachaeus Iloegbuna who used a pen-name, is not a priest of the Anglican Communion, and information therein are all false. Likewise, the publication in the Sun Newspaper of today the 6th Day of November, 2018 authored by Akajiofor is equally unfounded, false and baseless.

3. The Church Missionary Society duly ensured that the school became a local authority school for the purpose of aid and grant whilst the ownership of the school and land remained the property of the diocese on the Niger.  Since 1956 Bishop Crowther Memorial School, Nkisi Road Onitsha was founded as a Local Authority School by the application of the Diocese on the Niger.

4. In 2012, the Report of the State Committee on the Resolution of the disputes over the ownership of certain Primary Schools before the takeover of schools by the Government of the then East Central State in 1970 set up by His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi under the chairmanship of Hon Justice G.U Ononiba stated clearly that the school is an Anglican School and should be handed over to the Anglican Church which is the Diocese on the Niger. Up till now, that Report of the Committee has not been implemented despite all efforts to do so.

5.The Government of Anambra State should hand over the school to the Diocese on the Niger to manage, control and administer; and the ownership of the land which commenced in 1926 should be honored as Certified True Copies of supporting documents are available.

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