clergymen protest the sealing of church by Abia govt
Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia
Clergymen from the Apostolic Christian Church Mission, took to the street of Aba, commercial hub of Abia State to protest the sealing of the church’s headquarters on 34 Omuma road Aba.
It will be recalled that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, had ordered the shutting of the church headquarters following a protracted leadership tussle rocking the church.
The order was contained in a statement signed by the secretary to the state government Barr. Chris Ezem, dated December 31, 2022.
The protesting clergymen who appeared in their cassock, sang gospel songs while marching through the osisioma flyover to the governor’s lodge to lay their complaint.
Some of them displayed play cards with the following inscriptions:
Ikpeazu should open the national headquarters of ACCM, ACCM does support tribalism, Let governor Ikpeazu unseal the headquarters of ACCM.
The spokesmen of the church Apostle Christopher Ogbuagu and Rev Ugochukwu Onugha, accused governor Ikpeazu for allegedly trying influence the leadership of church to favour his Kingsmen in the church.
The duo who admitted that there was an going leadership crisis in the church which is currently before the Owerri division of the Court of Appeal wondered why he the took interest in the matter as non member of the church.
A statement made available to our correspondent by the group read, “The protesters are ordained ministers, pastors and Apostles of the Apostolic Christian Church Mission popularly known as ACCM with its national headquarters at 34 Omuma Road Aba Abia state.
“The church has over 1000 branches nationwide; but the largest concentration is in Abia state where it was founded over 72 years ago.
“There is a tiny minority of the church elders mostly politicians who incidentally are relatives of the Governor of Abia state Okezie Ikpeazu, who wants to foist an un popular Bishop over the church due to the death of the former Bishop.
“Also two other senior Apostles who were next in line; the financial secretary of the church who is not a career missionary of the church rose up and is receiving the support of the governor’s kinsmen and political allies ; led by Chief Theo Nkire, who was one time Attorney general of Abia state and Elder Godwin Nna, who was one time commissioner and local government chairman; whereas the next in line is a career missionary by name Rev Apostle John U Esinna; the financial secretary’s name is Apostle P C Erondu. Over 98% members and clergy are behind the leadership of Rev J.U Esinna, the tiny minority led by theo Nkire are using every means possible to impose P C Erondu on the church.
“The matter is even before court of Appeal Owerri and rather than the Theo Nkire ‘s group to be patient and law abiding and await the verdict of the court of Appeal they have resorted to all means possible to arm twist the church and their latest move was to get the Governor to shut down the church headquarters to put fear into the members who are against his kinsmen.
“He even declared the leaders of the pro Esnna group wanted in the state controlled radio station calling them criminals. The entire clergy are now fed up with the continued involvement and interference and intimidation by the Governor of Abia state, thus embarked on a peaceful protest.
“The idea is to draw the attention of the public to the meddling of the state governor in a church matter that is even before the court of Appeal and trying to intimidate the church into accepting a non clergy as their Bishop because his relatives and political allies are involved and to inform the world that should any harm come to any of our leaders that the governor should be held responsible and that he should hands off the church”.