Aggrieved members of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Anambra State on Monday protested the decision of the Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye to sack some priests of the diocese.
Bishop Okoye was said to have sacked the Holy Ghost Fathers residing at St Martin’s de Porres Catholic Church, Ihiala.
According to report, the Holy Ghost Fathers have been in charge of the St Martin’s Church for over 100 years, while also residing in the parish, until recently, when Bishop Okoye sacked them.
Meanwhile, some members of the diocese protested the sack of the priests, condemning the action of the Bishop, while describing the priests as being endangered after their sack.
Leader of the protesters and Secretary of the Coordinating Committee of the Concerned Ihiala Citizens, Mr. Nonye Chukwu, one of the sources said the people of Ihiala have written the Bishop to shelve the idea to sack the priests, regretting that he refused to act on their letter.
Chukwu who spoke to journalists said: “We are having a problem with our Bishop, he issued an order that Holy Ghost Fathers who stay at St. Martins should pack out and that he doesn’t want them in Ihiala anymore. This didn’t go down well with Ihiala Catholics.
“Where does he want them to go to? We have every reason to say no, irrespective of the fact that he has all the powers on earth as Bishop.
“These Holy Ghost priests sustained our people during the war as some of them were even emergency pilots who brought relief materials to the war-ravaged areas of the country.”
The Director of Communication, Nnewi Diocese, Rev Fr Tobenna Onwudiwe could not react to the allegation on behalf of the bishop as calls to his mobile line showed that his phone was switched off.