For Banning Igbo Songs in His Parish, Catholic Priest Gets Suspended

For Banning Igbo Songs in His Parish, Catholic Priest Gets Suspended

  • A Catholic priest has been sent on an indefinite leave of absence by the leadership of the church over some discriminatory remarks
  • The priest was said to have banned the use of Igbo songs and choruses in any of the church's activities at the Holy Trinity Church, Ewu-Owa Gberigbe in Ikorodu, Lagos state
  • Reverend Father James Anelu was said to have argued that the Igbo people tend to dominate the church everywhere you find them and as such must be contained

The Catholic Church has suspended Reverend Father James Anelu, the parish priest of Holy Trinity Church, Ewu-Owa Gberigbe in Ikorodu, Lagos state.

The Punch reports that Rev. Fr. Anelu was suspended by the church leadership for banning Igbo songs and choruses in his parish.

In a disclaimer, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Martins, directed Rev. Fr. Anelu to proceed on "an indefinite leave of absence'.

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James Anelu
Rev. Fr. Anelu has been sent on an indefinite leave of absence by the Catholic Church Photo: Fr Kelvin Ugwu
Source: UGC

The catholic priest was said to have allegedly argued that the excesses of the Igbo people must be contained as a reason for his banning of Igbo songs and choruses.

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It was gathered that Anelu had also stopped a soul-lifting chorus during a second collection angrily.

A case of domineering Igbo people

He also argued that the Igbo people cannot continue to dominate other people in his parish with their songs, choruses and other activities.

Sources said Anelu cited a case in his Benin Diocese where Igbos dominated the activities of the church to the extent of securing a seat as Bishop of the diocese.

He reportedly claimed that the spirit of God recognises only the geographical languages of the parish.

However, in a letter dated February 7, Archbishop of the Lagos diocese, Martins said Anelu it has come to the notice of the church that Anelu made some completely unacceptable comments about Igbo songs being sung in the Church.

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Martins said that the unsavoury remarks by Rev. Fr. Anelu do not represent the Catholic church’s position on the common brotherhood of peoples of all tribes and religions.

He said:

“For this reason, he has been asked to proceed on an indefinite leave of absence to give an opportunity for a thorough investigation of all the matters relating to his ministry on the parish.
"The leave of absence takes effect from Tuesday, February 8, 2021, till further notice."

The Archbishop further urged all Catholic faithful to continue to hold on to their faith in God while worshipping the Almighty as one big and happy family that cannot be separated by race, language or culture.

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The traditional materials seen in the viral photos are clay pots, clay trays, traditional baskets, beads, wrappers as well as white chalk locally called "nzu".

This is probably the first time this is happening because many people think of these items as not only fetishes but also tied to some African gods.

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The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Revd. Fr. Stephen Mamza spear-headed the kind gesture.

Mamza said he faced some opposition when he revealed his intention to embark on the project.

He said he donated the mosque to the Internally Displaced Persons taking shelter in his church adding that they were treated as humans who need help.

He said it was a matter of justice for the church to provide a place of worship for the Muslims among the displaced persons.


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