There are indications on Wednesday night that the Catholic Church has suspended Reverend Fr. Ejike Mbaka from carrying out activities in the Church.
The suspension followed a sermon by the controversial priest castigating the Buhari government; saying that it has failed woefully.
Mbaka was asked to proceed on suspension which will last for one month with effect from May 3 after being summoned by diocesan Bishop, Callistus Valentine Onaga.
Bishop Onaga summoned Mbaka following his repeated clashes with President Muhammadu Buhari and warned that he desists forth with as his conduct was smearing the image of the Catholic church.
Mbaka’s clash with Buhari was once celebrated in the Nigerian media, raising some concerns which attracted the attention of the Church leaders who saw the need to step in to forestall a monumental damage.
Many Nigerians, particularly steep supporters of the controversial priest opined that his suspension was rater political; accusing the Bishop and other church leaders of being in bed with politicians.
Although Catholic church leaders recognise that Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry is an independent congregation that does not fall directly under the main church’s control, he could still be subjected to checks as a priest under the Roman Catholic’s certification, some anonymous officials said.
Following his suspension, Mr Mbaka returned to his ministry that lies north of the outskirts of Enugu city Centre, where he subsequently incited his members against the bishop, sources said.
Mr Mbaka’s followers claimed without evidence that he was kidnapped by Bishop Onaga and handed over to the State Security Service. They subsequently marched on the premises of the bishop on Wednesday morning, looting and destroying assets in the premises.
Church sources said Mr Mbaka’s latest suspension was being viewed as significant for its undertone, but not the first time the fiery priest would face administrative action.
“We know people will link this to his confrontation with Buhari, but he was once demoted from a parish priest to a deputy under a parish priest,” a church official said. “He had also been transferred from bigger parishes to smaller ones for his frequent infractions in the past.”
Still, church officials admitted Mr Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry has been a cash cow for the Enugu Diocese, even though it was built by Mr Mbaka and not directly under its control.
“The real problem is the Diocese has been financially dependent on Mbaka, collecting his millions,” a source said, adding that some of the senior clerics themselves have also been in bed with politicians whom Mr Mbaka has long railed against.