The Catholic Church in Nigeria has cleared the air concerning the transfer of outspoken Reverend Father Ejike Mbaka.
The Catholic Priest was transferred by Catholic Bishop of Enugu Most Reverend Calistus Onaga from Christ The King Parish Enugu to Our Lady Catholic Church, Emene in Enugu.
Judging by the controversies surrounding the priest and his open support for President Muhamadu Buhari before and after the 2015 general elections, many people have come to the conclusion that the sudden transfer was a punitive measure to put the Priest in check. It is widely believed that the Catholic Church was pressured by the PDP to effect the transfer of the Fr. Mbaka.
The Catholic Church has however denied that the said transfer was politically motivated.
The Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Reverend Father Ralph Madu, while reacting to the claims made by Fr. Mbaka that the said transfer was a “calculated move” to make him suffer”, said his transfer would make him more useful in his service.
Mbaka’s transfer is not an exception; the Bishop has the right to post any priest wherever he feels his service would be more useful to the church.
His posting should have been a privilege, not a punishment which the Bishop can do because he has the power. If he says it’s a punishment, then it’s open for further investigation. Posting is a regular thing, a priest can be transferred after two, three, four, or more years. It depends on the discretion of the Bishop. That ministry (Adoration Ministry) is his private ministry. It does not belong to the church. Overseeing a parish is a full time job. Overseeing a ministry is a bigger task. If the church decides to take him somewhere where he’ll have more time to carry out his ministry, how is it punitive? That should not be the language.”
He further said that although Fr. Mbaka had in the past broken so many rules, he has never been punished by the Catholic Church.
“He is supposed to be a missionary. What if the Bishop had closed down the ministry , which is within his power to do? Sometimes, transfers can be for the good of the priest as something can be going wrong which he might not be aware of. The Bishop is free to move any priest at any time, it is his prerogative.”