“Be warned”, Archbishop in Nigeria Cautions Public against Priest Fueling Tribal Remarks

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The Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese in Nigeria has told the people of God in his Metropolitan See to stay away from a Priest who “sneaked into” the Nigerian Archdiocese where he is said to be fueling tribal utterances.

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa, Archbishop Valerian Okeke said that Fr. Magnus Ebere “deceitfully sneaked into” a town in Onitsha and made utterances that suggest that one of Nigeria’s ethnic groups, the Igbo, is superior in the West African country.

“Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere deceitfully sneaked into Nnobi town in Onitsha Archdiocese and began an illegal ministry which he called Canaanland Adoration Ministries… without the knowledge of the ecclesiastical authority, talk less of having the requisite faculties,” Archbishop Okeke said in the February 18 statement.

The Nigerian Archbishop made reference to the suspension of Fr. James Anelu, the Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity Ewu-owa, Ikorodu Parish of Lagos Archdiocese following his tribal remarks and said that Fr. Ebere had sought to fuel the suspended Priest’s remarks.

“Recently, a Catholic priest working in the Archdiocese of Lagos (was) given a leave of absence due to his unjustified outburst and an unfounded accusation that the Igbos want to dominate others wherever they are,” Archbishop Okeke said.


He added, “While reacting to this viral video of the Lagos incident during one of his illegal activities at Nnobi, Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere worsened and aggravated the matter by confirming the accusation the suspended priest levelled against the Igbos.”

In Fr. Ebere’s video which the Archbishop said had gone viral, the Priest is said to have made “many unchristian statements which need to be publicly condemned.”

“We therefore totally condemn and repudiate such unwarranted utterances like ‘Igbos are Igbos, anywhere we are, we are for dominion’, ‘If you remove Igbos in the Catholic Church in Lagos, there will be no Church there’. This is not the position of the Catholic Church in Igboland,” the Archbishop of Onitsha said.

“Please note that Fr. Magnus Ebere is neither speaking for the Catholic Church nor for the Igbos. His utterances can best be described as an outburst from a psychotic priest who needs psychological help from his religious Congregation. The Catholic Church is not a tribal institution and should not be made to look as such,” he said.

Archbishop Okeke said that Fr. Ebere, a member of the Society of Divine Vocations (SDV) “is not a priest of the Archdiocese of Onitsha and has no faculties or rights to operate within the Archdiocese of Onitsha.”

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The Local Ordinary of Onitsha noted that the granting of faculties is a serious matter in the Catholic Church because it is the means through which the Church determines the authenticity and suitability of a particular priest to function in the name and power of the Church.

He appealed to the faithful in Onitsha to stay away from the Priest, saying, “We have repeatedly warned the faithful of our Archdiocese about the dangers most of his activities and teachings pose to their faith.”

The Nigerian Archbishop warned the people of God under his pastoral care against Fr. Ebere, saying the Priest’s activities and teachings are “dangerous, deceitful and inimical” to their faith.

“Anyone who participates in his (Fr. Ebere’s) illegal activities at Nnobi does so at his or her risk. Any Catholic who accepts his erroneous teachings is operating outside the traditional and authentic teachings of the Catholic Church,” Archbishop Okeke said.

He added, “We also publicly warn Fr. Magnus Ebere to immediately stop all his illegal ministries at Nnobi. If he is truly a Catholic priest, which he claims to be, he needs faculties from the diocesan Bishop in order to carry out any form of ministry in Onitsha Archdiocese. No such faculties have been given to him neither in the past nor present. Please be warned.”


Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.