Nigerian Priest Suspended Over Tribal Remarks Recalled after “thorough investigation”

Fr. James Anelu. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Nigerian Catholic Priest who had been suspended for allegedly banning songs in one of the local languages in “his Church” has been recalled from “indefinite administrative leave” following “thorough investigation”. 

Fr. James Anelu, the Priest-in-Charge of Holy Trinity Ewu Owa, Ikorodu Parish of Lagos Archdiocese is said to have prohibited Igbo songs and choruses in the Catholic Parish, arguing that the excesses of Ndigbo needed to be contained.

The Igbo people are considered “one of the biggest and most influential tribes” in Nigeria with a population of about 40 million throughout the West African nation.

“The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, has recalled Fr. James Anelu, the Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Catholic Church Ewu Owa from the indefinite administrative leave to which he was sent on Feb. 7th 2022,” the Director of Social Communications in Lagos Archdiocese says in a Wednesday, March 9 statement.

Fr. Anthony Godonu says the Priest has been reinstated after “thorough investigation, conducted in consultation with the Parish Pastoral Council, the Parish Laity Council and Ad hoc Committee set up by the Archbishop.”


The findings of the investigations, Fr. Godonu says, “Discovered that the posting on the social media that brought about the administrative leave did not give a complete picture of the incident.”

“Fr. James has therefore been asked to return to the Parish in order to remedy the situation created by the social media posting and bring about reconciliation and unity in the Parish,” the Director of Social Communications in Lagos Archdiocese says in the March 8 statement.

Fr. Godonu goes on to say that in the spirit of the Lenten Season, the Local Ordinary, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, has urged all the parishioners of Holy Trinity Ewu Owa to work together in collaboration with the Parish Priest for the greater glory of God and the good of the community.

The Archbishop of Lagos has also called upon all God’s children to remember Fr. Anelu and his parishioners in their prayers, the Nigerian Catholic Priests says in his March 9 statement.

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.