There is trouble in paradise between Bishop Godfrey Onah of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka and his priest, the Reverend Fr. (Prof.) Paul Obayi, also known as Fr. Okunerere.
The Okunerere Adoration Ministry in Nsukka, Enugu State, is under Obayi’s spiritual leadership right now.
The priest has been accusing his bishop of persecution in recent statements.
The spiritual priest, who operates a prayer ministry in a fashion analogous to that of Reverend Fr. Ejike Mbaka of the Enugu Catholic Diocese, claimed that he had been persecuted by the church.
He claims that the Bishop and other priests are trying to forcibly seize land that belongs to his ministry.
Okunerere said that the church wanted to strangle him in a 30-minute video posted on his Facebook page.
On Wednesday, the BANKPAWA received a video in which the cleric made a long list of allegations.
Quotes from the film include: “The church is my vineyard, I love the church, I love my Nsukka (Catholic) church, I love the bishop, I love the priests, I love them, but they are oppressing me.”
I sought a place to express my devotion but found none. I moved in with my lover to a leased house behind Queens College Nsukka. Bishop Onah told the Students of Queens that I was disturbing the peace and ordering me out of the building.
This plot of land was a gift from Gburugburu, the former governor of Enugu State. I told the Bishop that I own some land and showed it to him. When he showed up, he approved of our using the site for the Marian Shrine. I said that, rather than Marian Shrine, I was interested in beginning my adoration ministry here. He warned me not to bring it up again.
I’ve given my life to the church, and now the church is trying to suffocate me. But that’s impossible!
I had the best transformer placed in the cathedral of the Diocese of Nsukka, which is still in use today.
The Bishop ordered me to construct a museum to house the idols I tore from people’s homes. I told my bishop that I had spent N2.8m constructing the museum in the cathedral’s upper levels. Since my bishop forbade the sale of olive oil, the only “thank you” I received was a question about where I had gotten the money to construct it. But I managed to stay strong through it all.
I was given property in Obimo to establish an adoration ministry there. Indeed, that is a mountain. I spent almost N50m to pave the land and lay the roads necessary to support the construction of a 30-room mansion. I gave it up, and the church took it away. Since the church doesn’t need the building until today after taking it from me, kidnappers are utilizing it to hold their victims. The Bishop has stated his intent to convert the building into the Nsukka Diocesan Pilgrimage Centre.
I was given N10 million and sent to Obollo, where I erected a chapel. On the day of the dedication, when the Bishop was present and everyone else was given credit for their work, nobody thanked me, Fr. Obayi, the man responsible for constructing the church. I was relocated to Ikem only two months after we dedicated the church, where it is common knowledge that the highways are crawling with kidnappers.
“I was an associate professor, but nobody in the Diocese ever proclaimed it, but the priests who became associate professors yesterday are recognized by the Diocese right up until today.
To steal my farm, other priests destroyed my gate and claimed divine inspiration.
I provided complimentary water to all the guests at the Episcopal ordination of the bishop.
“There is just too much repression. Priests are avoiding my adoration because, according to rumor, any priest spotted there would be sent to a remote hamlet in Uzo Uwani LGA, much beyond the mining company Adani.
The Bishop has repeatedly declined my invitations to join me in adoration, claiming he is confused by our actions.
Charismatics will have their program torn up by the officials at the Diocese if they include me as a guest priest in the document they submit for approval. The Charismatics would be asked why they should have Fr. Okunerere over. For the past decade, I have been barred from participating in any charismatic programming by the church officials.
“Bishop Onah prevented me from preaching in London on the grounds that I intended to do so in order to spread heresy there. I had preached at ten different London events before you became my bishop, I told him. Do I preach heresy because you’ve become my bishop?
The church wouldn’t give me any land to worship on, and now the church wants to take back the land the government gave me.
I’m about to leave the Catholic Church because they don’t want me back.