The tension in the south eastern state of Enugu State in Nigeria reached a near crescendo on Wednesday as supporters of a firebrand Reverend Father of the Roman Catholic Church under the Enugu Diocese by name Father Mbaka took to the streets with anger to seek for the whereabouts of the Reverend Father. This is following rumors of his arrest by Nigerian security operatives.
The tension eased as the Reverend made public appearance at the Bishop’s residence shortly after the Department of Security Services [DSS] issued a press statement indicating the Reverend Father was not in their custody.
But before the Reverend Father made the public statement, the supporters of Father Mbaka had taken their rage to the Bishop’s residence – where they demanded for the whereabouts of their Reverend Father. In the process, some of the items at the Bishop’s residence was damaged. Along the streets of Enugu, the supporters clashed with security operatives – Police and Army.
According to an eyewitness, the police and military forces who had initially moved into the streets to quell the anticipated backlash from the ‘missing’ report of the Reverend Father – were quickly repelled by the angry supporters of the Reverend Father. The security operative retreated.
In the same vein, the supporters of Father Mbaka pounced on a journalist who had come to cover the unfolding situation. The reporter who hails from the neighboring state of Ebonyi is attached with the Punch Newspapers. His name is Racheal Ede.
The altercation ensued when he arrived the outside the premises of the Adoration Ground and placed a call to the administrators of the Adoration Ground. He got a lady on the phone. After a brief exchange on the phone which appeared civil, he was invited into the offices. He obliged. Upon entrance in the offices, he was immediately apprehended as a wanted criminal. His mobile phones were immediately taken away. He was threatened and pushed around by the men in the room who told him that they have been monitoring his activities – and they know he has been against them. “We will treat your fuck up”, he was told.
They wanted to erase the memorize of his mobile phone – in order to delete what ever photographs, video or audio recordings he might have taken of the unfolding incident. It took passionate pleading from the journalist for some of the cooler heads to return his mobile phones to him.
According to a witness, the interaction between the journalist and the supporters of Father Mbaka depicted that of fanatic extremists who were determined to do away with the journalist. “They were acting like extremists and not like Christians”.
He managed to escape, traumatized.
In the meantime, the Reverend Father following his release and public appearance confirmed there was a reason for his sudden disappearance from the public scene. In confirming the reason, he maintained his defiance to the authorities indicating that the authorities who want his silence will not succeed. He alluded to his earlier utterances where he blessed the efforts of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra [IPOB], Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in pushing for the emancipation of his people out of the deadly grips of the Fulani caliphate. He inferred that the effort to silence him was due his support for Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s mission. But “I will keep talking till it comes to fruition”.