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Catholic Church suspends Fr. Mbaka for 30 days

Priest opens up on whereabouts, accuses Church leadership of holding him hostage for two days
…says plan was to hold him for 30 days

The jigsaw puzzle over the Wednesday’s disappearance and reappearance of Enugu vocal priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka is now falling into place. Highly placed sources within the Diocesan leadership disclosed to the press that Fr. Mbaka has been suspended by the Catholic Diocese from church activities for one month. It has been revealed that the purpose of inviting Mbaka to the Bishop’s Court was to hand out his suspension order which took effect from May 3. The sources, that preferred anonymity, disclosed that Enugu Catholic Bishop, Most Rev. Calistus Onaga summoned Mbaka to admonish him over his recent conducts, which were said to be smearing the image of the church. Such activities, it was revealed, were not unconnected with the fiery priest’s repeated clashes with the presidency.

But Mbaka himself has opened up on his whereabouts for two days, alleging that the authorities of the Enugu Catholic Diocese were behind his ordeal. A protest erupted in Enugu on Wednesday over the unknown whereabouts of the Catholic Cleric. It was initially speculated that he was arrested by unidentified security personnel at the official quarters of the Catholic Bishop after Fr. Mbaka had honoured an invitation by the Bishop. But none of the security agencies claimed responsibility.

In fact, the Department of State Services (DSS) issued an official statement through her spokesperson, Dr. Peter Afunanya, distancing the agency from Mbaka’s alleged disappearance. Mbaka, who addressed his parishioners at the Adoration Ground in Umuchigbo Nike, Enugu, Wednesday night, after he was set free, said he was summoned by the Enugu Catholic Bishop, Most Rev. Onaga, from where he was kept incommunicado. He alleged that the plan was to keep him for 30 days, but for the violent invasion of the Bishop’s Court by his supporters. According to the fiery Priest, a lot of issues were presented against him after which the Church leadership, led by Bishop Onaga, told him that he would remain indoors for one month, a period that would allow him to pray and meditate over his activities.

The priest said he requested to be allowed the opportunity to come and address his parishioners after which he would shut down, “but they said no. I also begged them to allow me to send another priest to come and celebrate mass for you today, they said no.” He said Bishop Onaga, upon seeing the protest over his predicament, allowed him to go. Mbaka said one of the cases presented against him was that he blessed Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. “Are you the owner of my mouth? You can’t tell me who to bless. If you are not happy that I blessed someone, you have your own mouth, you can curse the person,” he declared.

The Catholic Diocese of Enugu has yet to make an official statement on the matter, as at press time, even as the Director of Catholic Communication of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi did not take calls to his phone line nor responded to a text message. But it would be recalled that this is not the first time the Diocese would be making attempts to discipline Fr. Mbaka. Shortly after the 2015 general elections, Mbaka was transferred from his Christ the King Parish, GRA Enugu, to another Parish in Emene where he was demoted to an Assistant Priest under another Rev. Father. After much hullabaloo, he complied, but continued to expand his Adoration ministry also located at Emene, which the Diocese recognises as an independent congregation that does not fall directly under the main church’s control.

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