The Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Ewu-Owa Gberigbe Ikorodu, Lagos State, Rev. Fr. James Anelu last Sunday, prohibited Igbo songs in his parish and was subsequently suspended by Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Eminence, Alfred Adewale Martins for such action.
However, many people described such act as absurd and ungodly, saying that the Priest has no love of God in him, but acted as an unbeliever who has hatred and envy on his fellow humans.
A non-governmental organisation, Igbo Women Assembly, has joined forces to condemn the act, saying that the Priest did that to further surpress the Igbo and their language.
President of the group, Chief Mrs Nneka Chimezie frowned at the ugly development, especially at this time when the priests of his kind are preaching unity and peace in the country.
She noted that the banning of Igbo songs in the Catholic Church funny and unrealistic because Igbo are majority in the church and contribute most to the development of the church. “How on earth would a Priest do such thing when he knows that these are pillars in the Catholic Church? If he wants his local language songs to be sang, he should teach the choristers or bring someone who can teach them, since his people from his tribe are not ready to identify with the church, instead of the unjustified attack.”
Chimezie observed that Rev. Fr. Anelu seemed to have acted a script written by him and other Priests who are not comfortable with the population and what they see as Igbo domination of the various Parishes accross the nation, even when they are being taken care of by Igbo in their various Parishes. “Obviously, the Priest did not act alone. I believe there are still others who are stylishly doing similar things in their churches, but are not bold enough to come out. But being an Edo man, he felt he was bold and can do anything he wanted, without thinking about the implication, he voiced out. However, it is good that it happened like to let Igbo know the mindset of some of those they see as spiritual leaders. I will also say that it is a big lesson for the Igbo who leave their gates open for others to enjoy their sweats, that is what warrants others to take them for granted. That we give our best wherever we find ourselves, should not give room for factors that seem to be endangering the survival of our language and culture.”
Chimezie who is an advocate of Igbo language and culture, as well as Publisher of Igbo Language Newspaper, ‘Ekwe Kuo Ama Agbaa’, noted that if a mass could be celebrated for the Indians in their language in Lagos once a month, nothing is wrong for Priests to be allowed to celebrate masses in Igbo language in Lagos too because they are paying more prices to build the church, “Igbo build the Catholic Churches, thereafter, they will be pushed aside. In fact, that has to stop. They should be commended and applauded for their contributions in the Catholic Church, instead of maligning and humiliating them.
She called on leadership of the Catholic Church to look inwardly to find out the activities of some overzealous priests who promote tribalism and hatred into the Church, instead of focusing on their spiritual calling of winning souls for God. “Leadership of the church know that there many Anelu as Priests who are working against the interest of the church. So, they should do something about that because members are really complaining.”