Reporter : CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
Methodist Church of Nigeria Enugu Archdiocese Diocese has condemned the demolition of its property, including church buildings in Emene by the authorities of the Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA). The Lay President of the Church, Mr. Donatus Ogbodo, who made the position of the Church known to journalists in Enugu, described the development as painful.
Mr. Ogbodo, who said ECTDA claimed that the church was demolished for the expansion of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, stressed that the state government should have provided an alternative for them before it pulled down their Church complex.
While stressing that Methodist Church Nigeria supported the upgrade of the airport to International standard, Mr. Ogbodo maintained that it should not be the reason government should pull down properties not marked for demolition, or displaced adherents from worshiping.
He wondered why the church, which had existed in Emene since 1958, before the construction of the airport as well as had all the necessary approvals from the government before erecting their buildings, should be targeted by the Authority without compensation as required by law.
Mr. Ogbodo pointed out that the congregation would continue to hold Sunday services in the open space there, despite the destruction of their church buildings by the Enugu State Government, which he said was an affront and a declaration of war on religious groups by the state government.
He said that the church would continue to engage the government to ensure that the issue was resolved amicably to avoid creating unnecessary tension. When contacted on the issue, the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chidi Aroh, simply said that the State Government related very closely with Archbishop Edeh, and the Methodist Church, including Christian community in the area.
Recall that, Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) had since two weeks ago been demolishing structures in Ukwuorji, and Orie Emene said to be encroaching on the airport facility. The action of the Authority has continued to draw wide condemnation from the people.
Meanwhile, members of the Ebenezer Methodist Church Nigeria, Emene , Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State on Sunday (August 23, 2020) worshiped at the demolished site of the church. The Archbishop of the Arch-diocese, the Most Reverend Christopher Edeh, who presided over the service in company of Bishop of Agbani Diocese, the Right Reverend Udo Umeregini, urged members not to take laws into their hands but stand strong in faith, echoing that the Church believed in peaceful negotiation.
The Most Reverend Edeh who is also the Chairman, Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) Enugu State Chapter, expressed regret with the demolition of the Church’s property at Emene by the Enugu capital Territory Development Authority, (ECTDA), urging Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to come to the aid of the church at this critical time by relocating them to another area. Radio Nigeria correspondent who was at the service reports that members of the church prayed for God’s guidance and wisdom in the midst of the current challenges confronting it.