MEMBERS of a local councillor’s family in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State have beaten up the Catholic priest in charge of St Mary’s Catholic Church in Nkomoro after a bitter altercation over an attack on a cassava farm.
Yesterday, Reverend Father Ejike Odunze, was attacked by as a reprisal for him beating up the son of the local councillor. Reverend Father Odunze was said to have flogged and held the son of the councillor of Nkomoro Ward, Mrs Ngozika Onele, for allegedly destroying his cassava farm.
One local community source said Father Odunze had vowed not to release the youth without seeing the parents, having warned him several times against destroying his farm produce. This refusal to release the child is said to have 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 at Father Odunze’s house, alongside Kelechi Nwali and Chika Nwali, who are the brothers to the ward councillor, he sought to know what happened. However, Father Odunze asked him to ask the people who brought him into the matter and it was in the process that a quarrel ensued.
“Then, Chika Nwali insisted the Father must release the boy to them without further delay but his outburst angered Father Odunze who ordered that he should leave his compound but he refused. Chika said he would not leave without Father releasing the boy and in anger, Father Odunze brought a cane and started flogging him to leave his compound.
“Immediately Father Odunze used the cane on him, he collected it and broke it, into pieces, before Chika and his other brothers who were around, started beating him mercilessly,” the local eyewitness added.
After the incident, the reverend father left the community and is currently at the bishop’s quarters in Abakaliki, where he is also receiving treatment. Reverend Father Michael Nnachi Okoro, the bishop of Abakaliki Diocese is said to be very furious over the development.