NIGERIA: Priest Suspended for Ethnic Comments during Mass

By Odiwuor Opiyo

LAGOS, FEBRUARY 11, 2022 (CISA) – “It has been brought to our notice that Rev Fr James Anelu, the priest in charge of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-owa, Ikorodu, made some completely unacceptable comments about Igbo songs being sung in church and unsavoury remarks that do not represent the Catholic Church’s position on common brotherhood of peoples of all tribes and religions,” reads a statement dated February 7.

In the statement signed by Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins, Rev Fr Anelu was asked to proceed on an indefinite leave of absence to pave way for an investigation, “of all the matters relating to his ministry in the parish.”

“The leave of absence takes effect from Tuesday, 8th February, 2022 till further notice,” the statement revealed.

The prelate whom is alleged to have cited the neutralization of Igbo dominance is reported by local media to have angrily stopped the congregation halfway through a chorus pointing out that, “Igbos cannot keep dominating other people even in his parish” and adding that, “the Spirit of God in any place recognizes only languages indigenous to that geographical location.”

Vexed, the entire congregation staged a walkout from the mass.

According to reports Rev Fr Anelu cited the case of his Benin Diocese where Igbos dominate to the point of becoming the Bishop in person of Most Rev. Augustine Akubueze.

The Igbo are the largest ethnic group in West Africa with a population of about 40 million people.

In his letter, Archbishop Adewale urged all catholic faithful, “to hold on to the faith and continue in our worship of God as one big family united in love but not separated by language, culture or race.