The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu, Nigeria (AMEN), Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, has confirmed his invitation to Abuja for interrogation by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
But Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has described the invitation of Mbaka while sparing Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, as double standards.
Gumi had been meeting with and negotiating with terrorists and bandits for ransom in their hide-outs in the North. However, Mbaka has vowed not to keep mum while the country deteriorates.
His words: “If they are attacking me, even through those that should save me, no problem. I heard the security people did not accept the letter, but asked them to come on Monday to give me the letter. If they know the anointing here is too hot for them, let them change. I will not keep quiet.
“Look at the millions of youths moving about unemployed and you call us father. Should a father be comfortable in a situation like this?”
DSS, The Guardian gathered, visited the adoration ground last week to deliver the letter of invitation to the Catholic priest, but missed him. Details of the invitation were not stated, but it might not be unconnected with the priest’s criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari government in recent times.
The priest reportedly said recently that God was unhappy with Buhari’s leadership style and had rejected him. HURIWA said: “The invitation of Mbaka for using the pulpit to interrogate the state of the nation amounted to an egregious attack on the constitutionally-guaranteed religious freedom of a citizen, whereas the same secret police watched as Gumi continues to dialogue with terrorists and branding them ‘good bandits’, which violates Section 5 of the Terrorism Prevention Act of Nigeria.”
At the heat of the misunderstanding between him and the Presidency, he was summoned by the Church leadership in Enugu and was asked to stay comment on political suspend activities of AMEN and embark on personal retreat for 30 days.
Resuming from the retreat at the weekend, the Church barred him from speaking on political issues to stay comment on political activities, while AMEN was turned to a chaplaincy under the Enugu Diocese. Though Mbaka was retained as the spiritual director.
Reacting to the DSS invitation in his Sunday message, Mbaka said: “I got a call on Thursday that DSS officials from Abuja came here (Enugu) with a letter of invitation for me. Over what? What I cannot understand is that the mother Church in Nigeria should be cowed to Lilliputian.
“The Church is both a lamb and lion. The Bible says if the foundation is destroyed, what can the just man do. All these are efforts to dumbfound a prophet. All priests can be dumbfounded, but no prophet should. We must protect the sheep. In this time, when killings are rampant, when there is hunger everywhere, people do not have hope again; the only hope I have is God. Anybody who will stop people from worshipping here will regret it.”
Mbaka noted that he spoke against Sani Abacha, Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo as well as ministered to the late Umaru Yar’Adua