Catholic Bishops in Cameroon in “solidarity, communion” With Colleague Facing Attacks

Bishop Michael Bibi during his installation as Bishop of Buea on 25 February 2021. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Catholic Bishops in Cameroon’s Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province have expressed their “solidarity and communion” with their colleague, Bishop Michael Bibi, who is facing attacks in what they have described as “gross disrespect of the hierarchy of the Church”.

In their collective statement dated February 11, members of the Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference (BAPEC) say their “hearts were deeply saddened by the unfortunate turn of events in the Diocese of Buea, characterized by gross disrespect of the hierarchy of the Church, casting of aspersions on Bishop Michael Bibi.” 

BAPEC members say they are concerned about the “deliberate distortion and manipulation of facts in order to misinform, divide and mislead the public through social media and other media organs, on certain important decisions taken by the Bishop in his attempt to bring the Diocese to align perfectly with the mind and practices of the Church.”

“We express our solidarity and communion with His Lordship Bishop Michael Bibi, whose decisions are in perfect alignment with the mind and discipline of the Church on these matters,” BAPEC members emphasize in their February 11 statement shared with ACI Africa.

In an online petition launched a couple of months ago, the Local Ordinary of Buea is described as “an emperor and a tyrant Bishop who has destroyed Catholicism in Buea Diocese.”


A Facebook narrative, which one, Nchumbonga George Lekelefac, posted February 12 highlights the challenges the Cameroonian Catholic Church leader has faced, one of which is the claim that “Bishop Bibi illegally took canonical possession of the Diocese of Buea. Buea Diocese has no Bishop. Bishop Michael Miabesue Bibi is a fraud and one day he will be exposed.”

In June 2020, Bishop Bibi made changes at the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB), appointing Professor Victor Julius Ngoh as Vice Chancellor, a position previously held by Fr. George Nkeze Jingwa, whom the Bishop asked to take a sabbatical leave.

Members of the University Council disapproved of the change and dragged Bishop Bibi, then Apostolic Administrator of Buea Diocese, to court.

Pope Francis, through the Vatican-based Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples (Propaganda Fide), clarified the mandate of Bishop Bibi as the Apostolic Administrator of Buea Diocese.

In September 2020, BAPEC members expressed their “complete solidarity” with the Bishop of Buea Diocese who was besieged by administrative controversies, the main one being the changes he decreed for the leadership of CUIB.

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“We, the Bishops of BAPEC (Bamenda Provincial Episcopal Conference), do not only condemn such disobedience and damage caused to the local Church, but also express complete solidarity with our brother Bishop, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Buea,” the members of BAPEC said in their collective statement issued 29 September 2020.

In their February 11 collective statement signed by BAPEC President, Archbishop Andrew Nkea, the Catholic Bishops highlight some of the decisions taken by Bishop Bibi that seem to have triggered the social media outburst.

“These decisions concern, principally, the restoration to the Diocese of its ownership of the Catholic University Institute of Buea (CUIB) and related institutions, so that they are made accountable to the people of God; and the suspension of Lay Associations whose foundations were not properly constituted according to the requirements of the law,” Catholic Bishops who constitute BAPEC say.

They make a special appeal for “vigilance and commitment to working in communion with Bishop Michael Bibi for the purpose of building a united and prosperous Diocese, in keeping with the exhortation of Saint Paul: Hold to the pattern of sound teaching shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus.”

“While commending each one of you to Divine Protection through the intercession of Our Lady Queen of Peace, we ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will, with all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,” BAPEC members say.


With knowledge of God’s will, wisdom, and understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Bishops in the Province of Bamenda add in reference to the people under the pastoral care of Bishop Bibi, “you will be able to live as the Lord wants and will always do what pleases him. Your lives will produce all kinds of good deeds, and you will grow in your knowledge.” 

“May you be strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience,” the Catholic Bishops in Cameroon’s Bamenda Ecclesiastical Province implore in their February 11 statement shared with ACI Africa.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.