From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The Anglican Archbishop of Owerri Province, Most Revd David Onuoha, has said that the raid of the St Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama Obaire, by armed police during a service held in honour of the late mother of Uche Nwosu, was a gratuitous insult and a desecration of the sanctuary of God.
Operatives of the Imo State Police Command had invaded the church to arrest Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate of Action Alliance and son-in-law of Senator Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of the state and current senator representing Orlu Zone (Imo West).
The archbishop said that the sporadic shooting outside the church had caused pandemonium as worshippers scampered for safety.
He said that the church will engage the police to find out the reason for their action and how to avoid a future occurrence.
A statement personally signed by the Archbishop reads:
‘It was a black Sunday yesterday December 26 2021 as armed men in uniform invaded St Peter’s Anglican Church Eziama Obaire in Nkwerre Local Government Area, Diocese of Orlu in Imo State and roundly desecrated God’s sanctuary. The officiating priest had barely concluded the celebration and administration of the Holy Eucharist, ready for the end of year thanksgiving when armed men stormed the church. The Nigerian Police later explained that it was for the purpose of effecting an arrest.
‘Much as we are not concerned or interested in the reason for this invasion, which is unprecedented in the more than 160 years history of the church in this state, we are gravely worried and disturbed that worshippers were greatly frightened, worried, confused and completely disorganized by the presence of heavily armed security operatives in the church service thereby disrupting the worship of God’s people. That the police jumped inside the church in a Gestapo style when the service was in full session is reprehensible, primitive, and highly condemnable. We are at a great loss why the police decided to throw caution to the winds and completely ignore internationally acclaimed rules of engagement and civility in this matter.
‘The sporadic gunshots outside the church building sent worshippers scampering in different directions, signalling an abrupt and chaotic end of the service.
‘While the church is in support of and have always been praying for the success of our security personnel in the daunting task and challenge of securing lives and property in our dear state and every effort at bringing the perpetrators/sponsors of this crime against humanity to book no matter how highly placed, we warn that such acts as the one in issue are capable of worsening the security challenges we are currently facing.
‘The church will in the next few days engage the Nigerian Police in a dialogue to truly understand the reasons behind this dastardly act and how to avoid a repeat occurrence.’