A Reverend Father, Timothy Ngwuta has been illegally detained by security operatives in Ebonyi State since 2021, SaharaReporters has learnt.
This comes amidst the lingering communal crisis between Ezza-Effium and Effium people of the Ohuakwu Local Government Area of the state since January 2021, which had resulted in the death of several persons and the destruction of property worth millions of naira.
A soldier who does not want his name in print, said the Reverend Father who was recently posted to the community, was arrested and framed up for being responsible for a crisis that had been ongoing for a while.
He added that Ngwuta was arrested while paying a visit to some of his parishioners who had now been displaced from their homes as a result of the crisis.
“It was during one of these visits he was arrested and has since been detained without trial, nothing, an ordained Reverend Father for that matter,” the soldier told SaharaReporters.
He noted that Ngwuta’s arrest had a political undertone as he called on the state governor, Dave Umahi, to immediately order for the release of the Reverend Father.
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The soldier also said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo paid a visit to the community with the promise of ensuring security was beefed up but nothing had been done since then.
He added, “In my community, for two years now, there has been an ongoing tribal war and the governor doesn’t want to end it for political purposes because he has all it takes to stop the crisis.
“Even the Vice-President visited the community during Easter celebrations last year and promised to find a lasting solution but nothing like that. So many lives have been lost.
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“Now an innocent Reverend Father that I know very well, he was posted to the community, but because his tribe is in the other place, the Ebonyi State Government arrested this man since 2021 without trail, for no reason, they claimed he was supporting the crisis.
“The man was even shocked because it was a place he didn’t really know. As a cleric, he was going around to visit his members who had already become refugees in another place.
“It was during the visit, he was arrested till now, no trial, nothing. His house has also been burnt down. I’m not comfortable with it, a man of God, an ordained Reverend Father for that matter.
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“All these things happening in this country, I’m not happy. I’ve lost so many things in the community, even my uncle; a top military officer lost his building. Now, a Reverend Father that has come to give hope to the refugees is now being detained. I even thought he had been released but people are now agitating seriously.”
SaharaReporters also learnt that Parishioners of Saint Bernard’s Catholic Parish, Ugueze Effium, Ohaukwu Local Government Area had also called on Umahi to release their parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Timothy Ngwuta from detention.
According to a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the Laity Council in the parish, Ezinna Christian Ezakaoru and Elder David Nweke-Eze respectively after their meeting in the parish on Sunday, urged the governor to consider the sanctity of Priesthood and release their priest unconditionally to the church, as according to them, morality investigations and discipline supersedes that of security agencies.