Onitsha, 18 January, 2022 / 11:00 pm (ACI Africa).
Militants alleged to be enforcers of the sit-at-home order by the Indigenous Individuals of Biafra (IPOB), a separatist group in Nigeria, stormed St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish of Onitsha Archdiocese Tuesday, January 18 in an incident that saw Holy Mass that was being celebrated “temporarily” halted.
The January 18 morning incident involved IPOB supporters who, armed with sticks, invaded the Parish church building and told worshipers that they had violated the sit-at-home order by leaving their respective houses on the day IPOB chief, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was expected to appear in court.
In a January 18 interview with ACI Africa, the Secretary of the Archbishop of Onitsha, Fr. Kevin Onyekachukwu Chukwuka confirmed the incident saying, “The enforcers actually went to the Parish and temporarily suspended Mass.”
The Priest in charge, Fr. Joseph Umeasiegbu, engaged the enforcers in dialogue, explaining why “the Mass should go on; and they left” the church premises, Fr. Chukwuka told ACI Africa about the January 18 incident at St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish of Onitsha Archdiocese.
“This is the first time such a thing happened. I believe that the group that went there didn’t know what the Church stands for,” the Secretary of the Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese observed, and added, “I don't see it happening again. Igbo have much of a sense of sacredness.”