Group Protest against Bishop Owen Nwokolo,as house of Bishops, Clergy & Laity Responds.
A group of concerned Christians and Non Christian Citizens of Anambra state led by Ernest Anafonye and Onyedika Nwosu yesterday 06/11/2018, led a peaceful protest march to the office of Anambra state commissioner of police to point out their grievances against Bishop Owen Nwokolo, the Bishop on the Niger, Anglican communion.
In a press statement made available to newsmen at Nigeria Police Headquarters Awka yesterday, they stated that "we have come to bring to the attention of the commissioner of police Anambra state the activities if Bishop Owen Nwokolo, aimed at misleading the public, casting aspersion, peddling false rumour, blackmailing and engaging in campaign of calumny against the governor of Anambra state"
The leader of the group went further to state that, Bishop Owen Nwokolo deliberately, with the intention to incite the public, against the governor has taken to both traditional and social media to spread false rumours, claiming that Governor Willie Obiano is marginalizing members of the Anglican Church in Anambra state.
He emphasized that, "Bishop Owen Nwokolo in his unquenchable desire for land grabbing and unsearchable wants for possessions hiding under the guise of priesthood has continued to trespass on government land and properties only to turn around and resort to emotional blackmail whenever caught in the act"
Continuing, he said that the group is aware that the unnecessary controversy started by Bishop Owen Nwokolo and orchestrated by his wife has everything to do with the inability of their preferred aspirants to clinch tickets for various positions in the just concluded primary elections of the All Progressive Grand Alliance(APGA) for the 2019 general election.
The leader of the group further expressed their disappointment, that a supposed man of God would be fanning the embers of war in a peaceful state as Anambra state, just for selfish reasons.
The group lamented that the Bishop on the Niger, in spending time and resources on inciting the Anglican congregation and the public against Governor Willie Obiano, the government of Anambra state and even the Catholic Church, is capable of instigating religious wars in Anambra state.
The group however stressed that Anambra state is very peaceful, safe and secured, and that they won't want a return to armed robbery and kidnapping in the state, because as a people, though with diverse religions inclunatiins and belief are at peace with one another in the state and do not wish to experience religious wars because of selfish interest of one man and his insatiable wife.
They concluded by asking the commissioner of police, Umar Garba to call Bishop Owen Nwokolo to order, whom they said, his activities is unbecoming of a priest, to avoid any religious war, breech of peace, crisis and breakdown of law and order in the state.
In reacting to their protest and submissions, CP Umar Garba, said he has heard all they said and promised that the police will look at it and work on it. The CP, promised to take necessary actions where need be to forestall the breakdown of law and order in the state.
The commissioner of police however enjoined them to maintain peace as Anambra state under his watch will continue to be peaceful. He however stressed that Anambra state Police Command is not unmindful of the imbroglio between the Bishop and the state government, in respect of a land in Onitsha, which Anambra state government and the Anglican Church claim ownership of. He stressed that the police in the state has been managing the issue and have had series of meetings with parties involved in the dispute.
The CP, however advised that any party among the two that feels aggrieved should go to court, as it is only the court that will determine the ownership of the property,as the court has final adjudication on the issue.
He maintained that the Nigeria Police Force is neutral in this matter and so it shall be as land matters is not the purview of their jurisdiction. He therefore advised the protesters to avoid being used and warned that anybody who attempts or tries to cause breach of public peace, will face the full wrath of the law. He assured them that he will look into the matter, investigate it and get back to them, the outcome.
House of Bishops, Clergy and Laity of Province on the Niger Reacts.
In another development, raising from a meeting at All Saints Cathedral Onitsha the house of Bishops comprising of Most Rev Prof G.I.N Okpala,Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Rt Rev Henry Okeke,Bishop of Mbamili Diocese, Rt Rev Alex Ibezim PhD,Bishop of Awka Diocese, Rt Rev Johnson Ekwe,Bishop of Niger west Diocese, Rt Rev Prof Israel Okoye,Bishop of Ihiala Diocese, Rt Rev Prosper Amah,Bishop of Ogbaru Diocese,Rt Rev Dr Owen Nwokolo, Bishop on the Niger Diocese and representatives of the bishops of the diocese of Aguata and Amichi respectively, adopted a resolution which was signed by Arch Bishop, Prof G.I.N Okpala, and made available to newsmen in Onitsha which stated that, the demonstration that happened at Awka which was basically against Bishop Owen Nwokolo, the Anglican Bishop on the Niger,is not by Anglicans, but by hirelings, who called themselves concerned Christians and non Christian citizens of Anambra state, coordinated by Ernest Anafonye and Onyedika Nwosu as their secretary who are bent on tarnishing the image of the Anglican Church, Rt Rev Dr Owen Nwokolo and the diocese on the Niger, who are the rightful owner of the land at Nkisi road GRA Onitsha, where Bishop Crowther Memorial primary school has been since 1926 with a duly registered document since 1927.
They went further to state that the publication on the sunday sun newspapers of 4th November 2018,authored by Rev Zachaeus Iloegbuna who used a pen name is not a priest of the Anglican communion, and information therein are all false, so also the publication on sun newspaper of 6th November 2018, authored by Akajiofor is equally unfounded, false and baseless. They resolved that the church missionary society duly ensured that the school became a local authority school for the purpose of aid and grant whilst the ownership of the school and land remained the property of the diocese on the Niger.
They further recounted that since 1956, Bishop Crowther Memorial school,Nkisi road Onitsha was founded as a local authority school by the application of the diocese on the Niger, and that in 2012, the report of the state committee on resolution of the disputes over the ownership of certain primary schools before the takeover of schools by the government of the then east central state in 1970, was reviewed by His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi under the chairmanship of Hon Justice G U Ononiba, which stated clearly that the school is an Anglican school and should be handed over to the Anglican church, which is the diocese on the Niger, and that up till this moment has not been implemented despite the recommendation of the committee, as all efforts to that effect has proved abortive.
They therefore on government of Anambra state to as a matter of urgency hand over the school to the diocese on the Niger to manage, control and administer as ownership of the land which commenced in 1926 should be honored as certified true copies as supporting documents are available for the world to see.