On the 6th of August 2017, unknown gunmen alleged to be on a revenge mission invaded St. Phillip’s Catholic Church Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, killed about 13 defenseless worshipers and injured many. It was later alleged that the gunmen were looking for a man known Aloysius Ikegwuonu, a.k.a, Bishop or Ebubechukwu Uzo Ozubulu who is also a benefactor of the church.
In an interview with The PUNCH, the catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev Hilary Odili Okeke bared his mind on the attack.
The traumatized bishop admitted he was aware of some existing problems prior to the attack but didn’t expect it would result to such gruesome massacre.
When asked all he knew about High Chief Aloysius Ikegwuonu(Bishop), the man who built the church, he said:
“He is a lovely and friendly person. He is very charitable and greatly interested in helping other people; not only helping the church but helping people. I think he has a foundation which he runs to look after many people.”
On the allegations that the benefactor of the church is a drug dealer in South Africa, the catholic bishop said,
“I don’t know about that. It is only when it is proven. But there are lots of things I have seen that people say on the social media, even what people say about me not only this matter. If you follow what people say on the social media, I am not sure you will know where you are going.”
Also, on the allegation that churches tend to accept gifts from people without investigating deeply to know what they do for a living, he said:
“The church cannot begin to investigate every gift that they receive from people. There is no way. For example in this diocese, people have built more than 15 to 20 churches. On Sundays, people will come and give gifts when they have celebrations. So the church cannot begin to say to anybody who builds or gives, ‘Go and give me your account’. But if the church knows that somebody is evil or is a criminal, the church will not cooperate with that person and will not allow the person to operate without the person repenting.”
The Catholic Bishop also revealed what the church would do if eventually Aloysius(bishop) is found guilty of drug peddling and other criminal activities as alleged on social media.
“The church will do what Jesus Christ will do. We say, repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. The church will ask him to repent. However, I don’t know about that. You know, I don’t have time for social media. For example, people tell me about WhatsApp and in fact, I have about 4,000 WhatsApp messages. I have not opened any of them. I have more important things to do than to be on social media. Whatever they are saying about that, I have no interest. If you have those pieces of information, do whatever you like with them. What I am waiting for is the Police and government report. When the government and police have finished their report, then we shall know the truth because people are criminals only when they have been sentenced and found guilty and not when people accuse or say things about them. If it is true, I will know and I will deal with that person one on one.”