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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Enugu women demand immediate release of Catholic priest from prison


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The crisis rocking Mmaku community in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State took another dimension on Thursday as several women stormed Enugu, the state capital, demanding the immediate release of the detained catholic priest.
The Parish Priest of St. Theresa Parish, Mmaku, Reverend Father James Ani was on Tuesday remanded in prison custody on order of a magistrate court sitting in Enugu.
DailyPost learnt that Rev. Ani’s problem is as a result of the running battle he had with the Bishop of Awgu Catholic Diocese, Bishop John Okoye.
However, members of the Catholic Women Organization in the parish stormed the Enugu Government House yesterday calling for an end to the incaceration of the priest.
They equally visited all the media houses in the state, including Edinbugh, which has a concentration of print media offices.
The protesters alleged that the Bishop was fighting Fr. Ani because he refused to remit monies realized from the church to the Diocesan office.
“The Bishop is not happy that he is using the money to develop the church”, the protesters told journalists.
The women who were led by the chairperson of the CWO, Mrs.Cordelia Orjioke, told pressmen in Enugu that come what may, they want their priest released from detention because they did not see anything bad he did other than that he did not allow the bishop and parish council members to siphon the church fund for personal uses.
They mentioned those allegedly backing the bishop to include Messrs James Ede, Patrick Orjinta, Fred Obasi, Edwin Igbokwe among eleven others displaced on the placards.
The priest was arrested in Awgu and was reminded in police cell since Saturday and was taken to a magistrate court in Enugu from where he was eventually remanded in prison custody.
DailyPost recalls that a magistrate court sitting in Enugu has remanded Rev. Fr. James Ani in prison custody over his alleged involvement in armed robbery and kidnapping.
Also arraigned alongside the priest were Ugwu Marcel, Obasi Felix and Nobert Eke and some other members of his Parish at Mmaku, in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
They were docked before the court on Tuesday, on a four count charge of armed robbery, attempted kidnapping, among others.
The police alleged that the accused persons had on September 18, 2013 at Imeohia Mmaku village in Awgu, while armed with offensive weapons such as cutlasses and sticks attempted unlawfully to kill one inspector Cosmos Nzeribe and a team of police officers attached to police headquarters Enugu.
In the second charge, the suspects were charged for unlawful assault on police officers that went to perform their lawful duty, adding that the officers were also prevented from carrying out their duties.
The third charge read that the suspects had on the same date, time and venue willfully and unlawfully damaged a Toyota Corolla car, with registration number KPP 450 XA.
They were equally alleged to have allegedly willfully and unlawfully damaged a Toyota Corolla with registration number XY 770 ENU.
When the case was called up, the suspects pleaded not guilty.
The magistrate ordered that they be remanded in prison custody pending legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.
The latest development is the peak of the crisis that has bedeviled Mmaku community since the beginning of this year.
DailyPost

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