From Magnus Eze and Jude Chinedu, Enugu
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Fr. Ejike Mbaka. has said he was not arrested or detained by security agents.
The cleric, who arrived to a rousing welcome at the Adoration Ground around 7:15pm told faithful he was invited to a meeting with the Bishop of Enugu Catholic Diocese, Callistus Onaga, where he was ordered to vacate the adoration ground and remain silent for 30 days.
He said he was surprised to see other persons at the meeting which he thought was only between him and the Bishop.
He said there was a plan to shut the adoration ground over his recent comments against the government.
“They ordered me to leave the Adoration Ground for 30 days; to be silent for 30 days and to leave Enugu. Their plan was to even send me to Rome after the 30 days.
“I asked them why I was being punished. They cannot not tell me who to bless. They are angry that I blessed Nnamdi Kanu. I am a priest of God and nobody can tell me who to bless. Is it your blessing? Are you the one giving him life? Are you the one giving him life? Go and take away God’s blessings from him.
“If you said I spoke against government is there no insecurity in the country? Are they angry that I said government should provide jobs for the youths? I am a priest of God and I will continue to bless and speak the truth.
“I saw the implication of keeping me there. I told them that my people will look for me if they don’t allow me to attend today’s programme (E no dey again).
“What would have happened if I had has left Enugu as they instructed? We are a people of peace so I want you all to be peaceful. We wilI meet here again on Sunday God willing.”
Pandemonium had broken out, yesterday, as thousands of adherents took to the streets seeking the whereabouts of the fiery priest.
His followers had stormed the residence of the Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Bishop Callistus Onaga, demanding his whereabouts.
According to the protesters, Bishop had invited Mbaka for a meeting by 10am on Tuesday and they had neither seen nor heard from him since then.
The cleric, however, showed up at about 2:50pm as tension was reaching a breaking point on his whereabouts with many alleging that government was complicit in his ‘disappearance’.
He emerged at the junction of Igboeze Street where he alighted from an SUV and urged protesters to return to Adoration Ground in Umuchigbo for him to address them. It was learnt that the priest may have emerged from the Government House axis of Enugu.
Eyewitnesses said having received no positive response and fearing that the bishop may have handed the priest to security agents, the protesters had descended on Bishop’s Court, residence of Bishop Onaga, and vandalised property, especially glasses, doors, the Bishop’s office before marching to destroy a bookshop, guest house, two buildings, four big water tanks and other facilities at Holy Ghost Cathedral, Enugu. Some workers there sustained various degrees of injury.
There was heavy presence of joint security forces of the army, police, National Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Services both at the Bishop’s Court and the Holy Ghost Cathedral.
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, had denied that Mbaka was in their custody.
Fears of his possible arrest arose as Mbaka last week Wednesday called for the resignation or impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari over worsening security challenges in the country.
Last Sunday, the DSS issued a warning to individuals and groups to be mindful of utterances and actions that threatened the country’s peace and sovereignty.