Group drag Catholic Bishop, priest to court over proposed catholic university
By Patrick Egwu, Enugu
Crisis looms at Nguru community in Nsukka local government area of Enugu state over a proposed catholic university by Rev. Fr. Paul Martins Obayi of the Okunere Adoration Ministry as factional group of the community has dragged the cleric, elders of the community and the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese to court over ancestral land of the community.The factional group of about 21 members are contesting the legality of the hectares of land willfully ceded to Fr. Obayi for the establishment of a university in the community.The community after the elders were served court summon convened general meeting of the 10 villages that made up Nguru community where they resolved to stand firm in support of the establishment of the university in the area.Speaking to newsmen shortly after the meeting, the eldest man in the community, Edeoga Ekete Onyishi said that it was a taboo for a child to sue his father in court over land tussle, adding that the community willfully ceded the plots of land to Fr. Obayi for the purpose of establishing the proposed university in the community.
He noted that the community entered into agreement with Fr. Obayi before the plots of land measuring about 109 hectares was ceded to him to establish university which in turn would create job opportunities and open linkage for the community with the outside world“It is surprising that some people from the same community, about 21 of them ganged up, conspired among themselves to drag Fr. Obayi and elders of the community to court together with the catholic bishop of Nsukka diocese over ancestral land of the community” he said.“Fr. Obayi who equally hailed from Nguru community approached the community in accordance with the custom and traditions of the community before the land was ceded for the purpose of the university to be established in the community” He called on the factional group to withdraw the suit and follow the line of peace for the development of the community, pointing out that the 21 factional group may be ex-communicated if they fail to abide by the general decisions of the community.Also speaking Mr Ernest Obayi said that it was madness on the side of the factional group to take the entire community to court, explaining that Nguru general assembly met and approved the plots of land only for some cabals in the community to conspire to wage trouble and scuttle the good intentions of the cleric.“The community had earlier set up peace committees that came up with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the host community and Fr. Obayi for the purpose of the university in the area.Some of the factional group were members of the peace committee but later pulled out to sow seeds of discord to stop the developmental project of the cleric.” he noted.“How can a sane person drag the eldest man of a community to court over land alienation. It has never happened in this community and that was why Nguru general assembly gathered to address, warn the group to desist from the act and avoid future occurrence. We are not taking it lightly with the group as the community will apply all possible means to stop the group based on the statement of Attama Ezeoguda who has the final say on issues of the ancient kingdom of Nguru and the entire Nsukka general assembly,” he noted.Eneja Pete while speaking said that the community has drawn battle line with the factional group over their actions conceived on rascality and greed to dream ownership of ancestral land of the entire Nguru community.“Attama Ezeoguda has concluded it and there is no going back to the fight. The MoU signed, sealed and delivered was a clear document of the acquisition of the plots of land ceded to Fr. Obayi. The community would never renege on her approval of the land in question for the purpose of citing university in the community. What is the hands of bishop Godfrey Onah to be joined in the suit? It’s madness of the factional group in the community” in the statement of claim of the factional group suit No. N/12/2018 stated that the cleric is using Nguru youths association to intimidate, threaten, cow down and cause trouble as a result of his attempt to take the ancestral land by force for the purpose of building a personal university.The group are seeking declaration for perpetual injunction restraining Fr. Obayi and elders of the community from trespassing on the ancestral land of the community situate at Obelibe, Ogbagu Nguru Nsukka in Enugu state.Efforts made to speak with Fr. Paul Obayi proved abortive as he was said to be out of town and calls put across to his mobile were not returned as at the time of this report.