Armed men storms St Martin’s Catholic Church, Ihiala, tie security men
With heavily armed individuals breaking into the church’s grounds on Thursday night, the dispute between St. Martin of Tours Parish parishioners and concerned Ihiala residents has taken on a hazardous dimension.
Although their purpose could not be immediately determined, it was learned that two Reverend Fathers, one of whom was the parish priest of a new parish recently established by the Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Reverend Jonas Benson Okoye, led the armed men believed to be members of the Anambra Vigilante Group into the church premises.
According to a witness who spoke to newsmen, the armed individuals tied up the security guards manning the church and took their phones away from them while wearing all-black clothing and masks.
When contacted the parish priest of the Church, Rev. Fr. Val Eze, confirmed the incident and stated that the men were still inside the building as of Thursday night at 9.15 p.m.
But he added, “We are safe in the parish house,” claiming that the intruders had not come close to the priests’ home.
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The Holy Ghost priests who reside in the parish have not been celebrating Masses in the Nnewi Diocese for the past six weeks because the Bishop had revoked their licence to do so.
The Holy Ghost Fathers were accused by the diocese’s bishop of refusing to work with the diocese to resolve a number of issues, such as attempts to split St. Martin’s into new parishes and payments to the landowners the church had purchased.
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