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Popular Catholic priest Fr Paul Obayi “Okunerere” announces he is leaving Catholic Church over alleged oppression from a Bishop

Popular Catholic priest Fr Paul Obayi "Okunerere" announces he is leaving Catholic Church over alleged oppression from a Bishop

A Catholic priest of Nsukka Diocese, Reverend Father Paul Obayi, popularly known as Fr Okunerere, has said he intends to leave the Catholic church over alleged oppression.

The outspoken Catholic priest from Abakiliki, who founded the Okunerere Adoration Ministry, Nsukka, Enugu State, accused his Bishop, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah of oppressing him.

Popular Catholic priest Fr Paul Obayi "Okunerere" announces he is leaving Catholic Church over alleged oppression from a Bishop

Bishop Onah

He claimed his local ordinary and fellow priests want to take away his ministry’s land by force.

In a 30-minute video posted on his Facebook page, Okunerere alleged that he gave everything to the church, yet the church wants to destroy him.

In the video, Fr Okunerere made a long list of claims, adding that he was being forced to leave the church.

He said: “The church is my vineyard, I love the church, I love my Nsukka (Catholic) church, I love the bishop, I love the priests, I love them, but they are oppressing me.

“I was looking for a land where I will conduct my adoration but couldn’t find. I rented a place behind Queens College Nsukka and started my adoration there. Bishop Onah chased me out of the place, saying I was causing noise and distracting the students of Queens.

“The past governor of Enugu State, Gburugburu gave me this piece of land I’m staying in now. I told the Bishop that I have land and I took him there to see the land. When he came, he then said that the land is fine to be used to build the Marian Shrine. I told him it’s my adoration ministry I want to start here and not Marian Shrine. He said I shouldn’t talk about it again.

Popular Catholic priest Fr Paul Obayi "Okunerere" announces he is leaving Catholic Church over alleged oppression from a Bishop

Fr Paul Obayi

“I give everything to the church, yet the church wants to strangle me. But it can’t happen!

“I bought and installed the best transformer in the cathedral of Nsukka Diocese which they’re using till today.

“The Bishop mandated me to build a museum where I would keep the deities I removed from villages. I spent N2.8 million to build the museum upstairs inside the cathedral and reported it to my bishop. The only ‘thank you’ I got from my bishop was that he asked me ‘where did I get the money to build it when he has banned the selling of olive oil’. Yet, I endured it.

Popular Catholic priest Fr Paul Obayi "Okunerere" announces he is leaving Catholic Church over alleged oppression from a Bishop
Popular Catholic priest Fr Paul Obayi "Okunerere" announces he is leaving Catholic Church over alleged oppression from a Bishop

“At Obimo, I got land to build my adoration ministry. It’s a mountain. I spent more than N50m to level the place and create roads, then built a 30-room self-contained house there. The church collected it from me and I surrendered it. Kidnappers are using that building today to keep their victims because the church isn’t using it till today after collecting it from me. The Bishop said he wants to use the place as Nsukka Diocesan Pilgrimage Centre.

“I was posted to Obollo where I spent N10 million to build a church. The Bishop came to dedicate it and on the day of the dedication, everybody was acknowledged but they refused to acknowledge me, Fr Obayi who built the church. Just after 2 months of dedicating the church, I was transferred to Ikem, where everybody knows that the roads there are filled with kidnappers.

“I was an associate professor but no one in the Diocese ever announced me as associate professor, but those priests who became associate professors yesterday are recognized by the Diocese but I was ignored till today even as a professor.

“It got to the point that fellow priests broke my gate just to take my land, they said they were sent.

“During the Bishop’s Episcopal ordination, I supplied drinking water free to everybody in attendance.”

He added, “The oppression is too much. Priests are avoiding coming to my adoration because if they see any priest in my adoration, during posting, they will post the priest in a faraway village beyond Adani in Uzo Uwani LGA.

“I have been inviting the Bishop to my adoration but he refused to come, saying he doesn’t understand what we are doing here.

“If Charismatics draft a programme and include my name as a guest priest when they take it to the Diocese for approval, the authorities will tear the programme on seeing my name there. They would ask the Charismatics why should they invite Fr Okunerere. For 10 years now, I have not attended any charismatic programme because the church authorities won’t permit me.

“Bishop Onah stopped me from going to London to preach, saying that I would go there to preach heresy. I asked him, before you became my bishop, I had attended 10 different programmes in London where I preached. Is it now you’re my bishop that I will preach heresy?

“The church refused to give me land for my adoration, and the one given to me by the government, the church wants to collect it from me.

“Since the church doesn’t want me again, I am leaving the Catholic church any moment from now.”

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