The Anglican priests who barricade the entrance of the State government house along Enugu – Onitsha expressway Awka, the Anambra state capital with inscribed placard, “Obiano stop disrupting our churches services and activities, Bishop Crowther memorial primary school is not government property, Religious politics in Anambra State has no end, Anambra beware, Obiano give us back our land and school, among others” on Friday, accused the State Governor Chief Willie Obiano, who the said is a Catholic, of using his high office and position to aid his church to take over their land at St Simon Anglican Church parish which also houses Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary school, both located adjacent to the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Cathedral, Onitsha. The surreptitious moves, the Anglican priests alleged had remained a ding-dong affair for some time now until the new development when the Anambra State Government quickly erected a high wall around the school premises, apparently with the aim of ceding it to the Catholic Church permanently. Addressing newsmen at the venue on the development of the Archdeacon of Onitsha South Archdeaconry, Ven Josiah Chukwukadibia Ofoegbu noted that sometime now, our priests and faithful who went to worship inside the school premises were prevented by security operatives and government taunts. According to the cleric, “We have been worshipping here since 2006 but for the past month now we had a meeting here and three people came in and identified themselves as Internally Displaced Persons, who were asked to come and stay in the Primary School section, and we welcomed them. We called the Chairman of Onitsha North Local Government and told him about them and he told us to build a place where we could be worshipping so that the IDPs could be accommodated in the buildings where we worship until they leave. “We agreed and started building a structure and later a priest from the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity came into where we were building and told us he came to know what he will tell the Archbishop; later another Rev Father who identified himself as Chancellor, came and told us he would want to know what was happening here and we were wondering what informed their coming into where we were building temporary structure in a land that belonged to us. At a time the local government Chairman, Mr Patrick Mbah asked us to stop work and we stopped later again they told us to start work again and we started and later they told us that the Governor told us to stop work and we stopped again. “That same period the Chairman of Onitsha North Mr Mbah, came with some people and knocked down what we were building and the Same day some officials from the Ministry Education, came here and after our discussion with them, they told us to move the IDPs one side, allow the school children in the classes and we should be making use of our church building. We were surprised one Sunday morning when we came to worship, to see the whole compound taken over by policemen, Anambra State Vigilante, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra State, who prevented us from entering and worshipping in the compound and drove out worshippers who came before their arrival, claiming that it was an express order from the Governor. “This is a religious war declared against us by the Catholic church, the hall where we worship is now vacant, the IDPs are well accommodated here, we do not have any problem with them, we take care of them, the school children have their classes undisturbed, whoever is behind preventing us from our place of worship here is just playing the script written by the Catholics. “They said they Governor directed that we should not be worshipping here, and we wonder how the Governor will give such directive in a land that belongs to the Anglican Communion, we know it is the Catholics Church that is using the Onitsha North Local Government chairman and the Governor to intimidate us out of this place. “Even if the state government has the right to acquire any land, it does that for the overriding interest of the public and not for parochial interest or to oppress. He noted that the sinister move would open a can of worms of such tendencies including the barefaced marginalisation, humiliation and intimidation of other faiths in the state and the ceding of their properties, schools and positions to the Catholics by the successive governors of the state who incidentally have been Catholics beginning from Dr Chris Ngige, Peter Obi and now Obiano. In his reaction, Reverend Ameachi Okoasa, the Awka Capital Development Authority Chairman who addresses the Anglican protesters on behave of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, said there was nothing concerning the Catholic and the Anglican in the land. The land belongs to the Anambra State Government, and that the State government has set up a committee to look into the matter. He urged them to remain calm with a promise that the matter would be resolved in no distant time.]]>

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