Catholic Priest of Abakaliki Diocese in Nigeria Released on Bail after Months in Detention

Fr. Timothy Ngwuta. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Catholic Priest of Abakaliki Diocese in Nigeria who stands accused of murder, among other acts of violence in the West African country, has been “released on bail”, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese has said.

In a statement issued Friday, May 6, Fr. Matthew Uzoma Opoke announces the release of Fr. Timothy Ngwuta and expresses gratitude to the people of God for their support and prayers.

“We thank God for making it possible for Fr. Timothy Ngwuta to be released on bail today being Friday, 6th May, 2022,” Fr. Uzoma says in his one-page statement shared with ACI Africa.

The Chancellor of Abakaliki Diocese adds, “We thank all those who allowed themselves to be used either remotely or proximately as instruments towards the realization of the goal.”

“We thank you for your prayerful support in this journey that seemed unrealizable. You all made it happen,” the Nigerian Catholic Priest says.


Fr. Ngwuta was first arrested in December last year at Ebonyi Local Government Area where he went to help his friend, Jude Ariom, retrieve a vehicle that was parked there, the Chancellor of the Nigerian Diocese said in his April 24 statement.

Since then, Fr. Uzoma explained, “Fr. Ngwuta has been in and out of court and is now facing charges of what has ‘metamorphosed’ to kidnapping and murder as well as attack on and murder of police officers.”

Fr. Uzoma indicated that the accused Catholic Priest was also charged with aiding escape, arson, promoting inter-communal war, and many other charges.

In his April 24 statement, the Chancellor of Abakaliki Diocese urged security agencies in Nigeria to conduct “a thorough investigation” into violence in the country, and to set Fr. Ngwuta, who he said has been wrongfully accused, free.

“The Catholic Church condemns acts of violence, incitement of violence, wars, kidnapping, arson, or any crimes and will not shield anyone involved in such dastardly acts. We urge the security forces to do a thorough investigation and ensure that the Priest of God, who has, in conscience, stated before his Bishop, that the accusations are entirely false, is not punished for offenses he knows nothing about,” Fr. Uzoma said in his April 24 statement.

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In his May 6 statement shared with ACI Africa, Fr Uzoma says describes the charges against his colleague in the Diocese of Abakaliki as “spurious”. 

“We are still relying on your assistance as we go through the court processes towards vindicating Fr. Timothy of the spurious charges against him,” the Chancellor of Abakaliki Diocese says.

“We continue to commend the process to the care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Priests,” he says, and adds, “There is always light at the end of the tunnel.”

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.