The Catholic diocese of Enugu has declared a one-week prayer after a violent protest about the whereabouts of Ejike Mbaka, spiritual director of Adoration Ministries Enugu Nigeria (AMEN).


In his first public statement over the incident, Callistus Onaga, bishop of the diocese, condemned the invasion of the place of worship by the protesters.


Some residents had staged a protest on Wednesday, demanding to know the whereabouts of Mbaka after he did not show up for his weekly prayer programme.


The priest later resurfaced and said he was summoned by the bishop who wanted to shut his ministry over his comments expressing support for Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).


The incident happened after the priest exchanged words with the presidency over a controversial contract.


Around the same time, the presidency and the Department of State Services (DSS) had warned that some religious leaders were working with external forces to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari.


Onaga said the protesters desecrated the holy altar and destroyed properties after they violently broke into the diocesan cathedral.

 “Over and above this, they brutally vandalised the diocesan bishop’s residence, the cathedral parish house and the secretariat building complex,” he said.


The bishop, therefore, called on the Catholic faithful to embark on “prayer of atonement and reparation” over the “heinous act”.


“The prayer begins from Friday, May 7 to Friday, May 14 and every parish, chaplaincy and religious community in the diocese is obliged to participate in this holy activity,” he said.


“I enjoin you to remain sober and keep the diocese in prayer. With divine assistance and grace, we shall overcome this challenging moment.”