The Catholic Church has condemned the police invasion of the Anglican Church in Imo State to arrest Uche Nwosu, the son-in-law to the former governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha.
The masked officers, about 15 of them, “jumped” into the church when Sunday service was still going on, fired gunshots in the air, before whisking away Mr Nwosu, a former governorship candidate in Imo State.
Mr Nwosu, his wife and other relatives were said to have been assaulted by the officers during the arrest.
“The apparent desecration of the sanctity of a place of worship at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Eziama Obaire, Nkwerre Local Government Area on Sunday 26th December is an added new low in the Nigerian polity,” the Catholic Bishop of Orlu Diocese, Augustine Ukwuoma, said in a statement, December 27.
Mr Ukwuoma said Mr Nwosu is not above the law, but that the way the operatives carried out the arrest is condemnable.
“One wonders how long it will take before that worshiping community gets over the trauma occasioned by this sad incident. We are living in a violent and tensed up society, therefore, any action that is capable of escalating the stress in the society should be avoided,” the cleric said.
He called on Nigerian authorities “to take steps to prevent a repeat of this breach of the Constitution, disruption of public order and desecration of a constitutionally protected place of worship”.
“The Church must remain a House of Prayer, a sanctuary for all where we go to commune with God and receive His blessing. Therefore, it should be shielded from any unruly or belligerent behaviour,” the bishop said.
Mr Nwosu was released some hours later after the police flew him to Abuja on a chartered flight to take a statement from him.
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He said the police accused him of “sponsoring insecurity” in Imo.
Both Mr Nwosu and his father-in-law, Mr Okorocha, who is a senator representing Imo West District, have accused the Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, of being behind the arrest which they said was meant to humiliate them.
The Imo State Government has denied their involvement in the arrest.
The police, however, have not spoken yet on the incident.
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