THE Catholic Church, on Thursday, described as preposterous the allegation of incitement to violence against Bishop Godfrey Onah of Nsukka Diocese by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA.
NSCIA had on the wake of reprisal attack on Hausa Community in Nsukka after a group of Hausa people stabbed a tricycle driver for demanding to be paid after carrying an Hausa businesswoman to the Military barracks, petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, and the Department of State Services, alleging that Bishop Onah instigated the recent attacks on Muslims in the South-East and South-South regions.
But the Vicar-general of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Amuluche Nnamani, told journalists that the allegation was baseless and unfounded.
Fr Nnamani said Bishop Onah was referring to the unjustified killing of unarmed members of Indigeneous People of Biafra, IPOB at Emene in Enugu State by security agents and not making hateful and inciting comments against other religions in the country.
The Vicar-general, Nnamani, spoke while fielding questions during a press briefing held at St. Theresa’s Catholic Cathedral, Nsukka, on the forthcoming dedication of 5,500 capacity cathedral of the diocese on 19th of November, 2020.
While thanking the Catholic community for their financial and moral support in the building of the cathedral which took 29 years to complete, he said the Diocese of Nsukka is aware of the accusation on our Bishop.
“It is unfair on him because the allegation is baseless and unfounded. We wish that the people making this accusation would come to understand that even the quotations they are using as a basis for their allegation were made out of context.
“He was pointing at the fact that unarmed IPOB members having their meeting at Emene Enugu were killed and molested by security agencies.
“Government cannot claim to be ignorant of the number of people in the bushes in South East going around with AK-47 riffles causing havoc here and there and nobody has been brought to book. He was pointing at the level of injustice that is going on in Nigeria which actually should not be tolerated.
“Those laying accusations on him capitalized on that and tried to nail him to the incident that happened at Nsukka between a commercial tricycle rider and a Muslim woman.
“Everybody knows what happened about EndSARS protest in Nigeria. It has brought a new culture in Nigeria whether you like it or not because many people who didn’t know that they have power have discovered that sheer strong-will can make them resist armed security agencies who jeopardize their rights unjustly.
“Secondly, people, unfortunately, have discovered their power of destruction. These burning down here and there were not in the original plans of the genuine EndSARS protesters, but the hard reality is that it had happened this time.
“Because the destruction didn’t happen in Nsukka here, perhaps, the miscreants just saw a provocation of someone who was attacked by Muslims. He was rumoured to have died and the bad news provoked the young people. Again, the feeling that somebody came from somewhere and started violence on a hustler in our community motivated the youths to acts of destruction. However, there is no assurance that those youths who participated in that violence were christians.
“The allegation is unfair on our Bishop because there is hardly anyone in recent history who had counselled the youths on how to be peaceful than Bishop Onah. These things are on record. So, to single out what was taken out of context and attempt to nail him on that is unfair.
“Rather than attacking the Bishop, we should look at the systemic problems which is causing youths unrest and address them so that it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
While talking about the dedication of the cathedral, he said that the Nsukka Catholic Parish which begun in 1932 now boasts of 197 parishes, adding that it became a diocese in 1990.