Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 14 August 2014 | 4,531 times
Members of Ebenezer Anglican Church, Oze in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State have taken to the streets to protest Monday’s demolition of their church building by people suspected to be from Nkwelle Ezunaka.
The protesters numbering over 50 blocked the roads leading to the commercial city of Onitsha for several hours and brandished placards with inscriptions such as “Rebuild our church now”; “Governor Obiano intervene in this matter and arrest the perpetrators of this evil act”, “God will punish who did this evil act”, etc
While the protest went on yesterday, vehicular traffic along the popular 33 area of the city was at gridlock as the demonstrators trooped out from all the parishes in the Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion.
The protesters threatened to boycott the second term election of President Goodluck Jonathan if he does not intervene in the matter.
They alleged that there is a systematic religious war against the Anglican Communion in the state.
Speaking on behalf of the Diocese on the Niger, Rev. Ik Egbeonu stressed that the state government’s silence on the matter signified a kind of conspiracy between government and those who perpetrated the act.
He said the school compound housing the demolished church building was among the ones handed over to the church by the former governor of the state, Mr. Peter Obi, adding that the statement credited to the President General of the community, Elder Chris Eluemuno, that the church took over the school by force was not true.
Egbeonu said: “This is a church project that has gulped over N30 million and the money was contributed by widows, orphans and less privileged, only for some people to pull it down from top to the foundation level.
“We are calling on the state government to come and rebuild our church. We are also calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in this matter. If this is not done, the 2015 presidential election will surely be affected because Anglicans form almost half of the voters in the country.”
On his part, the Chancellor of the Diocese on the Niger, Mr. Nnamdi Ibegbu, SAN, condemned the action and threatened that the diocese would seek legal action against those that demolished the church building.
According to him, the issue of the rightful owners of the premises that housed the demolished church building will be determined by a competent court of jurisdiction.
He however appealed to Anglican faithful in the area to remain calm and not take laws into their hands.
A member of the demolished Ebenezer Anglican Church, Oyolu, Mr. Emma Ibeneme, said they were still in shock, adding that they were surprised when they discovered on Monday morning that their church building, which was already roofed, had been reduced to rubble by some people suspected to be agents of Nkwelle Ezunaka community.
However, the President General of Nkwelle Ezeunanka community, Elder Chris Eluemuno, denied that the community had a hand in the demolition of the church building.
Eluemuno said that the matter was already being handled by the law enforcement agents.
•Photo shows what remains of the demolished Ebenezer Anglican Church, Oze in Oyi, Anambra State.
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