Tension brews in Enugu for another demolishing exercise

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A palpable fear is rife especially among members of the Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN) over alleged attempt by the Enugu State Government to demolish structures in the church?s headquarters.

No fewer than 200 cassock-wearing clergymen took to the street to protest the government?s decision, vowing to lay down their lives to ensure that the planned demolition did not take place.

Speaking on the development, the Administrator in charge of MCN, Uwani, Revd. Gabriel Ogban siegbe, denied the alleged leasing of the property, accusing the government of engaging in political witch­hunt against the church in the state.

?We heard that government is planning to pull down our structures. For the four years I have been here, the state government has been against us; we are being marginalised. We can not continue with a situation where government no longer respects the church. We feel we are not safe again.

?We are also aware that text messages have been flying about castigating our Bishop in Agbani, Bishop Onuagha, because of the way he introduced former governor, Chimaroke Nna mani, during the burial of Mrs. Alice Nnamani, mother of his former SSG, Onyemuche in Agbani. This has sparked off attack on our church. We are not politicians, the fact that the former governor received loud ovation was not our making.

?This time around, we are going to resist them. We are ready to die because of our land. Enough is enough,? Ogbansiegbe noted.

Also speaking, the Presbyter of MCN, Ugwuaji Awkunanaw, Revd. James Obineche, said the church had become tired of the ?constant embarrassment? from the state government, insisting that ?this time around, we are ready to die and be buried by their bull dozers instead of allowing them to destroy this place.?

When contacted, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Chris Okolo, denied any political under tone, explaining that gov­ernment was only carrying out its duties through the demolition of structures not approved by government.

He said government was not comfortable with the leasing of part of the church land to a bank without the governor?s consent, adding that ?since the church has denied the lease, we want to demolish the fence to know who is behind it.?

He confirmed that he had directed the Enugu Capital Development Authority to effect the demolition.

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