Sunday, 22 March 2015

Death Threat: Enugu Bishops Meet Mbaka Today


The Catholic Diocese of Enugu, which oversees the Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka-led Adoration Ministry, has said it will meet with the cleric today to investigate his claim that President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, want him dead. This is as the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria on Saturday said Rev. Fr. Mbaka, had yet to report to the said allegations to it.

Mbaka, who has repeatedly stated his opposition to the President’s re-election, had alleged during a sermon he delivered in his church, as seen in a recent video uploaded on YouTube last Sunday that President Jonathan and his wife want to kill him.

The controversial cleric had said:



“Let me say to the whole world that President Jonathan and his wife, Patience, are planning to assassinate Father Mbaka. It is a known secret, so whoever they want to use, I don’t know. They may not come themselves. They may use these unemployed people, the same people I am speaking for. I don’t know why people no longer have the fear of God. Do they think that killing Father Mbaka will make Jonathan and his wife win the election? Is Mbaka their problem?
In an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, a representative of the diocese, who declined to have his name in print, said investigations are ongoing to determine the legitimacy of Mbaka’s threat.
“We have had a meeting concerning the claim he made and we are doing something about it. We have to call him and he has to explain. We are going to have a meeting with him tomorrow (Sunday), after mass,” the representative said.
When asked if the diocese had made a report of the threat to the Inspector General of Police, the source said the Catholic body would take a decision based on its findings.
“It is after our meeting that we can take further action.”
On the Vatican’s involvement in the matter, the source added:
 “What has the Vatican got to do with that? It is a local issue and the bishop is handling it. It has not reached the international level. We are handling it among ourselves. It (the threat) has not been confirmed. So, let us wait and see.”
Meanwhile, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria on Saturday said Mbaka had yet to report the case to it. The organisation said:
 “Goodluck (Jonathan) may have his faults but we don’t see him as a killer.”
The CSN said cases of such threats were usually reported to the Bishops who “may then advise a report to Catholic Secretariat and the security agencies if necessary.”

The Director of Church and Society in CSN and Executive Secretary, Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, an organ of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, made the clarifications in Abuja. He said:
 “I am aware of it (Fr. Mbaka’s claim), though not the full details. I even heard a video was being produced for circulation. We at the Catholic Secretariat heard about the claim that President Jonathan and his wife are after his life, like everyone else.
“I am not aware of any such formal report. The Secretary-General (of CSN) would have told us. In any case, priests first and foremost report such issues to their Bishop, the Bishop may then advise a report to the Catholic Secretariat and the security agencies if necessary.”
Bassey also said no formal report had been made about the allegation, let alone taking the case to the Vatican.
“Like I said, I haven’t heard the Secretary-General say there was a formal report. We are hearing it like everybody else. Besides, the CSN may only come in if his Bishop thinks it is beyond him at some point. To involve the secretariat is to involve the entire Bishops’ Conference, and this is something his Bishop may have the best competence to handle, along with the security forces,” he stated.
The Catholic Secretariat which said it could not say if the threats were genuine however said it does not believe that Jonathan would want “blood on his hands, let alone the blood of a man of God.”

According to Bassey, the church will continue to pray and work for peace.
“The Bishops had met with the Commander- in- Chief (Jonathan) severally in recent months, to express concern about the security situation. This is not just about Boko Haram, thank God it is being handled; but also security against armed robbery, kidnapping, political violence, and security generally as a feature of good governance. 
The Bishops have been urging citizens to be more security conscious. As for the Fr. Mbaka issue, like I said, the diocese he belongs to, through his Bishop is best positioned to give a direction and or take immediate action if necessary,” Fr. Bassey emphasised.

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