From Mokwugwo Solomon, Awka
Parishioners of St Martin’s Catholic Church, and concerned citizens of Ihiala in Anambra State have begged the Catholic bishop of Nnewi Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev Jonas-Benson Okoye, to use his good offices to call Fr Augustine Ndukaji to order.
This was contained in a statement jointly endorsed by the Catholic Women Organization (CWO), Catholic Men Organization (CMO), Catholic Boys Organization (CBO) and Catholic Girls Organization (CGO) of the parish.
The statement issued on Sunday, October 23, by the coordinating secretary and spokesperson of Concerned Citizens of Ihiala, and St.
Martin’s Parish, Nonye Chukwu, claimed that Fr Ndukaji, during a Rotatory meeting at St Gregory’s Parish, Ubahuekwem, Ihiala, on Saturday, October 22, spoke disparagingly about the parishioners of St Martin’s, describing them as very disobedient Christians, and people who should not be taken seriously.
The statement further claimed that the cleric said he must enter into St Martin’s Parish by force; whether the parishioners like it or not; a statement they said is too unbecoming of a priest, who should be finding a way to mend fences with the parishioners already aggrieved by crisis in the parish.
Part of the statement reads, “We want to bring this issue to the notice of His Lordship that Fr Augustine Ndukaji has continued to make inflammatory statements about the current crisis in our mother parish, St Martin of Tours.
“His Lordship recently sacked the Holy Ghost priests, who have been in charge of St Martin’s Parish, Ihiala, and appointed a circular priest, Fr Augustine Ndukaji, in their place; a development that didn’t go down well with the Catholic community.
“Despite the problem on ground, Fr Ndukaji went ahead to make derogatory statements, and boasted that he must become the Parish Priest of St Martin’s.This, to us, is a hate speech. If Dr Ndukaji actually said those things, as reported by our parishioners that attended the meeting, it is then very unfortunate considering his age and position.
“These days, there had been reinforced efforts by some priests of the diocese (especially Fr Ndukaji) to ditch out preachings loaded with hate speeches, with the sole intent of ridiculing the parishioners, and aggravating tensions. This, ordinarily, should not have come from a priest, especially at this time everybody is looking for solution to the issue at hand.”
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