Outspoken Catholic priest, Ejike Mbaka, has stirred another controversy, alleging that there was a plot to kill him after his row with the Catholic Diocese of Enugu in May last year.
“The day you people protested in Enugu while searching for me, it was the night that they would have killed me already,” the cleric said, while delivering his usually incendiary cross over night message for the year 2022 on Friday at the Adoration Ground, Enugu.
Mr Mbaka subtly accused the Catholic Bishop of the Enugu Diocese, Callistus Onaga, of having a hand in the plot, although he did not mention names of those directly involved or how he got privy of the information.
He cautioned the bishop against pushing him “to the level of rebellion”. The priest said he has “thousands of followers” ready to defend him.
The cleric also warned some Catholic priests whom he said are involved in the “attack” against his Adoration Ministry.
There was a protest last May in Enugu after Mr Mbaka allegedly went missing for almost 24 hours following a meeting with Bishop Onaga over his exchange of words with Nigeria’s presidency.
Known before now as a staunch supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Mbaka had in a surprised move attacked the president, asking him to resign or be impeached for “bad governance”.
The presidency responded with an accusation that the priest was angry because his request for government contracts was rebuffed.
The exchange was the last straw for Mr Onaga who had repeatedly cautioned Mbaka against meddling in politics.
Consequently, the Bishop asked the fiery priest to shut down his Adoration ministry in Enugu for one-month and embark on a retreat.
But after the priest was summoned by Mr Onaga in the parish, his followers raised alarm that he had gone missing.
The followers thereafter embarked on a protest to the bishop’s residence where they allegedly destroyed properties within the premises.
The protesters were also said to have destroyed properties at the Holy Ghost Cathedral before Mr Mbaka later appeared and took them away to a location where he addressed them, claiming he was denied access to his phones and ordered to proceed on one-month suspension.
He also alleged that the diocesan leadership wanted to close down the Adoration Ministry.
Meanwhile, Mr Mbaka later apologised to the bishop and other Catholic faithful of the diocese for the destruction of parts of the bishop’s residence and the Holy Ghost Cathedral.
He also shut down his Adoration Ministry for a month.
Alleged plot to kill
In what appeared a resumption of hostilities with the church, Mr Mbaka in his New Year preaching said to thousands of his followers that the reason behind his summoning by the diocesan leadership was sinister.
“You know they gave me order (at the time) not to come here (Adoration Ground) again till 30 days. Somebody that was summoned to a meeting,” he said.
“It was the meeting I went for, but I didn’t know it was a panel. It was in that panel that they gave me an order not to conduct adoration again until 30 days and that I won’t enter my house until 30 days,” Mr Mbaka told the congregants at the Adoration Ministry, adding that “I was asked to just move somewhere else other than Adoration ground or my house.”
He said he obeyed the Bishop’s order, but that the Holy Spirit ministered to him that he should not park “anywhere”.
“I didn’t know I was being tracked that night. Before the next day you people started searching for me.”
He further stated: “Their plan was to capture me that night and drag me to Cubana (Hotel) and take me to Mobil where prostitutes stay and then take me around (there) and then, show video of me in the place (Brothel) so that people would ask what Mbaka was searching for in brothel.
“Then, they will again, drag me to Igboeze, another spot for Prostitutes. That’s where they planned to naked themselves, not me. So, then people would begin to ask what I am doing naked in prostitutes’ spot. Then, they will take me to Abuja and the story will be much, they will kill themselves, not me.”
Mr Mbaka said he has reviewed his initial apology to the church leadership and realised it was people who treated him badly that ought to apologise to him.
He warned people fighting his ministry to steer clear of it. He said he was wondering why the Catholic Church would not “appreciate what she has”.
He said he and Adoration faithful had never talked ill of the Bishop in the Adoration ground, adding that whoever he takes as a father should also take him (Mbaka) as a son.
Squabble with presidency
Mr Mbaka, in his 2015 New Year Message, was said to have attacked the then incumbent Government of President Goodluck Jonathan, in the build up to the presidential election, declaring that Goodluck had become “bad luck” and that President Goodluck would give way for the then All Progressive Congress candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who later won the election, to become president.
But, in his Saturday message, Mr Mbaka said he did not tell Nigerians to vote Mr Buhari. He said he only declared a revelation he received that Mr Buhari would be president in 2015.
“When I was saying that Buhari would be President, there was nobody I told to vote Buhari,” he said.
“People were quoting me out of context. I said it was revealed to me that Buhari would be President (in 2015), does that mean I said you should vote him? It is vision, but I said if he begins to mess up, that I will attack him. It is in the tape. And he messed up and I started attacking him,” he said.