Priests of the Diocese on the Niger , Anglican Communion , yesterday in Awka , protested against the alleged forceful seizure of the church ’s property by the Anambra State Government in the commercial city of Onitsha . The clergymen , numbering over 200 , arrived the Government House gate around 11 .00 am, carrying placards in protest against the alleged forceful takeover of Bishop Crowder Memorial School in Onitsha .
The placards had various inscriptions, such as ‘Gov . Obiano , stop disrupting our church services and activities , ’ Bishop Crowder Memorial Primary School is not government property , ’ among others. The priests, who barricaded the entrance gate of the Government House , insisted that only Governor Willie Obiano should address them , adding that no other official of the state government could address us , not even the deputy governor, Dr . Nkem Okeke .
Addressing journalists at the scene , leader of the priests and Archdeacon of Onitsha South Archdeaconry , Ven. Josiah Chukwukadibia Ofoegbu , said they were embittered about what is happening in the state and were in Government House to register their grievances over alleged marginalisation and politics of denomination under Obiano .
Ofoegbu also claimed that so many Anglicans in the state were denied All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA ) tickets for various positions in the just -concluded party primaries , describing such as a threat to peaceful coexistence . He said : “ This present administration is turning Anambra State to a denominational state . It is unfortunate that this is happening 28 years after Bishop Ajayi Crowder , who built the school left Nigeria.
“ The school was handed over to the Anglican Church . Both Anglicans and Catholics knew about that . When government seized school , it was seized from us and during hand over to schools , it was again handed over to us .“ But it was quite unfortunate that Obiano sent thugs few weeks ago to send us out of the place . They disgraced us in our own property . They dispersed the worshippers and even threatened to kill us . This injustice must end .
“ We want to let him know that we will worship there on Sunday ( tomorrow). He should prepare for war . We are ready to die on that land . Obiano should stop that discrimination . ” The priests further alleged that some Anglicans were denied ticket in Anambra because they are not Catholics , recalling that when people like Chief Jim Nwobodo and the late Dr . Nnamdi Azikiwe were leaders , they never discriminated against anybody .
A mild drama played out during the protest , when the aggrieved priests refused to listen to an Archdeacon of the Anglican Communion and Obiano ’s aide , Ven. Amaechi Okwosa sent by the governor to address them. However , Okwosa , who is also the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority , later told journalists that the governor had set up a committee to look into the matter with a view to finding a lasting solution .