Rev. Fr. Ejike Fabian Odunze, the parish priest of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Nkomoro in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, has been allegedly attacked by some youths of the area.
The incident happened after Father Odunze flogged and detained the son of the Councilor of Nkomoro Ward, Mrs Ngozika Onele, for allegedly destroying his cassava farm.
A source from the community who spoke to Vanguard on Thursday, October 8, said that Fr. Ejike had vowed not to release the child without seeing the parents, having warned him several times, against destroying his farm produce.
Fr. Odunze’s refusal to release the boy, angered his family members who went and reported the matter to the Chairman of the Parish Council.
“When the Chairman of the Parish Council arrived Father’s house, alongside Kelechi Nwali and Chika Nwali, who are the brothers to the Ward Councillor, he sought to know what happened,” the source explained.
“But Fr. Ejike asked him to ask the people who brought him into the matter. It was in the process that a quarrel ensued. Then, Chika Nwali insisted Father must release the boy to them without further delay. His outburst angered Father who ordered that he should leave his compound. But he refused,”
“Chika said he would not leave without Father releasing the boy. In anger, Father brought a cane and started flogging him to leave his compound. Immediately Father used the cane on him, he collected it and broke it, into pieces, before Chika and his other brothers who were around, started beating the priest mercilessly.” the source added.
It was further learnt that after the incident, the Father who could not bear the assault, left the community, and is currently at Bishop’s quarters in Abakaliki, where he is also receiving treatment.
The Bishop of Abakaliki Dioceses, Michael Nnachi Okoro and the entire Catholic community are said to be very furious over the development.
When contacted, Fr. Odunze said he was not stable to talk on the matter and wanted to be left alone.