‘I’m leaving Catholic Church’ – Fr Obayi Paul alleges oppression from Nsukka Bishop

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There is a brewing crisis between the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Bishop Godfrey Onah and his priest, Rev. Fr (Prof.) Paul Obayi, famously known as Fr Okunerere.

Obayi is currently the spiritual director of the Okunerere Adoration Ministry, Nsukka, Enugu State.

The cleric recently reeled out accusations against his bishop, alleging oppression from his local ordinary.

The spiritual priest, who runs a similar prayer ministry similar to Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka of the Enugu Catholic Diocese diocese, revealed that the church has been oppressing him.

According to him, the latest oppression came as the Bishop and other fellow priests want to take away his ministry’s land by force.

In a 30 minutes video posted on his Facebook page, Okunerere alleged that he gave everything to the church, yet the church wanted to strangle.

The cleric made a long list of claims in the video obtained by the Bellnews on Wednesday.

Excerpts from the video: “The church is my vineyard, I love the church, I love my Nsukka (Catholic) church, I love the bishop, I love the priests, I love them, but they are oppressing me.

“I was looking for a land where I will conduct my adoration but couldn’t find. I rented a place behind Queens College Nsukka and started my adoration there. Bishop Onah chased me out of the place, saying I was causing noise and distracting the Students of Queens.

“The past governor of Enugu State, Gburugburu gave me this piece of land I’m staying in now. I told the Bishop that I have a land and I took him there to see the land. When he came, he then said that the land is fine to be used to build the Marian Shrine. I told him it’s my adoration ministry I want to start here and not Marian Shrine. He said I shouldn’t talk about it again.

“I give everything to the church, yet the church wants to strangle me. But it can’t happen!

“I bought and installed the best transformer in the cathedral of Nsukka Diocese which they’re using till today.

“The Bishop mandated me to build a museum where I would keep the deities I removed from villages. I spent N2.8m to build the museum upstairs inside the cathedral and reported it to my bishop. The only ‘thank you’ I got from my bishop was that he asked me ‘where did I get the money to build it when he has banned selling of olive oil’. Yet, I endured it.

“At Obimo, I got land to build my adoration ministry. It’s a mountain. I spent more than N50m to level the place and create roads, then built a 30-room self-contained house there. The church collected it from me and I surrendered it. Kidnappers are using that building today to keep their victims because the church isn’t using it till today after collecting it from me. The Bishop said he wants to use the place as Nsukka Diocesan Pilgrimage Centre.

“I was posted to Obollo where I spent N10 million to build a church. The Bishop came to dedicate it and on the day of the dedication, everybody was acknowledged but they refused to acknowledge me, Fr Obayi who built the church. Just after 2 months of dedicating the church, I was transferred to Ikem, where everybody knows that the roads there are filled with kidnappers.

“I was an associate professor but no one in the Diocese ever announced me as associate professor, but those priests who became associate professors yesterday are recognized by the Diocese but I was ignored till today even as a professor.

“It got to the point that fellow priests broke my gate just to take my land, they said they were sent.

“During the Bishop’s Episcopal ordination, I supplied drinking water free to everybody in attendance.

“The oppression is too much. Priests are avoiding coming to my adoration because if they see any priest in my adoration, during posting, they will post the priest in a far away village beyond Adani in Uzo Uwani LGA.

“I have been inviting the Bishop to my adoration but he refused coming, saying he doesn’t understand what we are doing here.

“If Charismatics draft a programme and include my name as a guest priest, when they take it to the Diocese for approval, the authorities will tear the programme on seeing my name there. They would ask the Charismatics why should they invite Fr Okunerere. For 10 years now, I have not attended any charismatic programme because the church authorities won’t permit me.

“Bishop Onah stopped me from going to London to preach, saying that I would go there to preach heresy. I asked him, before you became my bishop, I had attended 10 different programmes in London where I preached. Is it now you’re my bishop that I will preach heresy?

“The church refused to give me land for my adoration, and the one given to me by the government, the church wants to collect it from me.

“Since the church doesn’t want me again, I am leaving the Catholic church any moment from now.”

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