Anarchy looms as Anglican priests besiege Anambra Govt House, rains curses
By Osiberoha Osibe
Awka – There is palpable fear of religious crisis in Anambra State following the threat of the Anglican priests to make the state ungovernable and placement of curses on some government officials over the accusation that the government is allegedly working with the Catholic Church to take away the plots of land housing Bishop Crowther Primary School, Onitsha from the Anglican Communion.
The placard-carrying priests numbering over 3000 drawn from all the parishes across the Anglican Diocese on the Niger Province stormed and blockaded the gate to the Governor’s Office, insisting they would continue to occupy the seat of power until the governor gives them audience and order the detractors to stay away from the premises owned by the Anglican Communion.
Some of the placards read: “Governor Obiano, Give Us Back Our Land amnd School: Bishop Crowther Primary School, Onitsha”, “Governor Willie Obiano, Save Anambra State from Religious Crisis”, “Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School Belongs To Us”.
Addressing the peaceful protesting crowd of priests who sang and prayed behind the shut gate at the Government House, Awka, Friday (October 2, 2018), the Arch Deacon of Onitsha South Archdeaconry, Venerable Josiah Chukwukadibia Ofoegbu, lamented that governor Obiano shunned their presence and refused to open the gate to the Governor’s Office for more than three hours, against the backdrop that they are Ministers of God and always praying for the betterment of goverrnance, and good of the governor and people of the State, vowing that they will repeat the siege until their request is favourably considered.
Venerable Ofoegbu recalled that Bishop Crowther was the first clergy to bring a church to Nigeria and laid the foundation stone at the present disputed Crowther Primary School land some years before the arrival of Catholic Church to Nigeria and wondered why the state government had to shut the gate to the school on the ground that the land does not belong to the Anglican Communion.
Expressing misgivings in the purported shoddy, controversial primaries of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) , the Minister of God alleged that the state government is turning the State into an all-Catholic-denomination state and warned that if the gate is not opened by coming Sunday (October 4, 2018), hell will be let loose.
Lamenting and praying prophetically, the clergy said: “the Anglicans are battling Christian Boko Haram …We have been worshiping at the Crowther Memorial Primary School for a long time and we will continue to worship there. We are here to see our governor whom we massively voted for.
We have the right to see him, but he has refused to see us and his men have shut the gate against us. Anambra government officials have insulted us and for shutting the gate against us, everybody working in this government, their family and their children, may God lock the gate of Heaven against them In Jesus Name.
“Those supporting this government, both those in secret and open, the sun that scorched us today, let the sun smite them… and this government that disrespected us the Minister of God, let disrespect follow them all the days of their life…”.
But in a swift reaction, the Managing Director of Awka Capital Territory (ACTDA), Venerable Okwuosa, a fellow clergy who spoke on behalf of the government, wondered why the Anglican priests decided to take to the streets in protest over the disputed land when the State government has already intervened and is discussing with nine Anglican Bishops on the issue.
Collaborating him, the Chairman of Anambra State Physical Planning Board, Honourable Chike Madueke said he was aware of the matter, pointing out that his Board which has statutory right over physical planning and development in the state did not approve them land for the Anglican Communion.
Madueke who denied knowledge of demolition in the premises of Crowther Memorial Primary School Onitsha, pointed out that the clergies are only playing to the gallery and advised them to follow the proper channel of communication if they want to see the governor for dialogue.