A Federal High Court sitting at Awka, Anambra State has restrained the Bishop of Nnewi Catholic Diocese, Rt. Rev. Paul Okeke and six other priests in the church from harassing, attacking or molesting a female member of the church, Sister Angela Ejidike who is seeking justice over the allegation of fornication leveled against her by the church.
The court presided over by Justice Peter Olayiwola also restrained the police from further invasion of Sister Ejidike’s premises in connection with her complaints as contained in the Motion on Notice or further violation of her rights pending the hearing and determination of the case.
The court further granted the applicant “unfettered access to her residence at Gibson Nwosu Avenue Awka, for the purposes of occupying same and to be able to access the level of damage done by the police at the instance of the 1st to 7th Respondents pending the hearing and determination of the Motion.”
The Applicant, Sister Ejidike a devout Christian who took a private vow of perpetual virginity had gone to court alleging attempts on her life by persons she described as agents of the Bishop and the six priests.
The nine respondents in the case are Most Rev. Bishop Hilary Paul Odili Okeke, Rev. Fr. Christian Eze, Rev. Fr. Alexander Umenweke, Rev. Fr. Ernest Amobi Ebulue, Rev. Fr. Luke lbeh, Rev. Fr. Jude Ezike, Rev. Fr. Pius Ilechukwu, the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Police Command and the InspectorGeneral of Police.
In a 99-paragraph affidavit, Ejidike who claimed to have gone into hiding due to the attempts on her life averred that when it became difficult for the 1st – 7th Respondents to trace her, “they falsely alleged and instigated the police to invade my residence; carting away some vital property.”
She traced her travails to August 2002 when one of the priests “invaded me in the gathering of Christian faithful at Nnewi and chased away people who came for counseling and consultation.
“The same priest concocted fornication allegation against me and another Catholic priest who happened to be the Director of Catechetic and Evangelization where I rendered my services and faith.
“In order to completely destroy me, the priest reported the concocted lies to the Nnewi Diocesan Senate of Priests where the 1st – 6th Respondents are equally members.
“Without any investigation, the priests started spreading this false fornication story which later got to my hearing and that of the priest who was also accused.
“This false story spread like wild fire to the nooks and crannies of the country and even beyond; it was one of those who received God’s healing through us and who lives in Austria that broke the news to us. The story made us look like murderers to the people and our reputation and character were badly destroyed,” she said.
The Applicant recalled that she, together with the accused priest used to carry out Evangelization Programme which attracted over 20,000 faithful; “but we were unaware that the 1st – 7th Respondents were not happy witht the development. She noted that even after she went for virginity test to prove her innocence, she was evicted from the Cathetical centre and forced to get a private residence.
“Soon after I packed to a private residence, strange and intriguing visits were paid by some Catholics Priests of the Diocese including the Respondents. Unfortunately these visits culminated and metamorphosed into assassins pursuing me everywhere from 2005 till date which caused me to go into hiding,” Ejidike further stated in the affidavit.