Felix Ikem, Nsukka
Rev. Dr. Amuluche Nnamani, the Vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka has said that Bishop Godfrey Onah of the Diocese was quoted out of context by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) in the alleged incitement sermon by the bishop.
Nnamani said this Thursday in Nsukka during a press briefing on the dedication of 5500 seat capacity Catholic cathedral scheduled to take place on Thursday 19th November.
NSCIA had petition Inspector-General of Police and Director-General, Department of State Security (DSS) accusing the Bishop of inciteful speech against Muslims, which they alleged has led to recent violent assaults and destruction of property of Muslims in the south-east and south-south regions
However, reacting to the allegation Nnamani said that, “we are aware of the NSCIA accusations against the Catholic bishop of Nsukka Diocese which are very unfair,we wish that the people making their question will come to understand more even the particular sermon in question you will see that the quotations made there were made out of context.
“For example, where he said that mosques in Nsukka are springing up and that nobody is harassing them. He was more of trying to tell them that in the other parts of Nigeria you are not allowed to have a church or carry out your religious activities. He was pointing at the injustice involved and making references.
“Equally, he was pointing at a situation where some Igbo youths will gather for a meeting and security agents will attack and kill some of them, yet the same security agents will not locate the whereabouts of the Fulani Herdsmen who carry AK-47 about and the bandits terrorizing the country.
“For NSCIA and other Muslim groups to think that bishop Onah’s sermon was what triggered violence in Nsukka between youths and Muslims and other places in south-east and south-south region is quite unfair and uncalled for,” he said.
He urged them not to divert attentions by making unfounded allegations against the bishop, but joined hands with governments and other relevant stakeholders in finding the root cause of violence against Muslims in some places in the South-East and south-south region and proffer lasting solution.
On the dedication of the cathedral, Rev Nnamani said that the cathedral will be dedicated on Thursday, 19th November 2020, stressing that the Nsukka Catholic Parish which begun in 1932 now boasts of 197 parishes, adding that it became a diocese in 1990.
He thanked the Catholic community under the diocese, organisations and individuals for their financial support for the building of the 29 years old cathedral.
Going down memory lane, Nnamani recalled that “Francis Emmanuel Ogbonnaya Okobo the bishop emeritus of the Diocese was consecrated the First Bishop of the cathedral on 6 January 1991 at St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome and installed on 2 February 1991 started the cathedral building.
“Okobo reigned until 13 April 2013 when Pope Francis appointed Godfrey Igwebuike Onah as the second bishop of Nsukka Diocese. Under the episcopate, the cathedral will be dedicated. It is a thing of joy and we give glory to God Almighty for making it possible.
“We thank the Catholic faithful in Nsukka diocese, good spirited individuals and organisations who supported the massive project.
“This cathedral after dedication will represent the image of Nsukka,” he said.
Nnamani who is also the chaplain of Saint Peter’s Catholic chaplaincy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said that the diocese has put machineries in motion to ensure that the event and invited guests will observe strict covid-19 protocol.