By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Over 5,000 members of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Province of the Niger, on last week Saturday, gathered at Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, to pray for the state.
At the prayer session, they alleged the existence of what they called a religious Boko Haram going on in Anambra State against the Anglican Communion and its members, adding that it was being supported by the Anambra State Government.
The Church also alleged that the state was divided between churches by the state government, whom it alleged, was giving one section of the Church an undue favour against other churches in the state.
The allegation was made at Dr. Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka, during the annual Anglican Prayer Rally of Anambra State, APRAS, 2018, anchored by the Archbishop, Province of the Niger and Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Most Rev. Prof. Godwin Okpala.
The Province of the Niger also alleged that employment and political appointments were given in the state based on religious inclination, adding that except one belonged to a particular denomination, employment and political appointment would not be given to those seeking for them.
The Church also alleged that some people wanted to rewrite the history of Christianity in the state with the apparatus of the government, by trying to make the landlords tenants in their house.
Speaking in a sermon titled, "Divine Defence", Ven. Israel Odita lamented that the Anglican Communion was at the receiving end of the "Religious Boko Haram" going on in the state, alleging that the Anambra State Government was solidly behind it, warning that it would destroy the state if not tackled.
According to Ven. Odita, terrible things were happening in Anambra State. We have religious Boko Haram in Anambra State, and the apparatus of the government was being used in the ''Boko Haram'' to cajole the Anglican Communion to become members of other churches.
His words: political appointments and job offers are now given in the state only if you are a member of a particular church, even the last All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA primaries, candidates were picked and elected based on being a member of a particular denomination.
'They have destroyed the state with religion, something is wrong in this state; it is time we deal with the elephant in the room destroying the state, matters of religion are volatile and we must be handle it carefully, otherwise the state will go down.
'Nobody benefits from religious squandermania. Just recently Anglican worshippers at Bishop Crowther Memorial Church were attacked and wounded by people claiming to be working for the government and the place is now under lock and key.
'Even the biased panel that was dominated by other churches set up by the former Governor, Peter Obi, gave the recommendation that the land housing BCM Church belongs to Anglican but under the recent administration of Governor Willie Obiano,
Anglicans are beaten and chased out from worshipping in the church and the governor kept sealed lips.
'Following the beating, chasing out and locking the Anglican faithful out of the Church, we came here yesterday with the Archbishop of Province of the Niger and other eight bishops in the Province to speak with the Governor, but we were locked out from seeing the governor, we stayed for three hours waiting to be attended to by the Governor but we were ignored, that was very unfair and disrespectful and an insulting treatment.
'All the nine Bishops in the Province of the Niger, including Archbishop Godwin Okpala; Bishop Owen Nwokolo of Diocese in the Niger; Bishop Samuel Ezeofor, Aguata; Bishop Alex Ibezim, Awka; Bishop Israel Okoye, Ihiala; Bishop Johnson Ekwe, Niger West; Bishop Henry Okeke, Mbamili and Bishop Prosper Amah, of Ogbaru Diocese, attended the prayer rally.
The Province of the Niger however noted that it was an allegation against the government and not for people to hate the government or members of the other churches but to condemn bad things being done by the two.
It will be recalled that Bishop Crowther was the first clergy to bring a church to Nigeria and laid the foundation stone at the present disputed Crowther Primary School land some years before the arrival of other Churches to Nigeria and wondered why the state government had to shut the gate of the school on the ground that the land did not belong to the Anglican Communion.