Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka has given his version of the report on the alleged assault and attack on BBC reporters at his home in Enugu State.
The Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), said the BBC reporters were attacked because his security men suspected them to be assassins on a surveillance mission.
The BBC had on Thursday reported how its Igbo channel staff were attacked by Mbaka and his church faithful at the Catholic priest’s home in Enugu State on Wednesday, December 9.
But in a statement through the Adoration spokesman, Mr Maximus Ugwuoke, the cleric said that neither he nor any member of the Adoration family was aware of the presence of the BBC team on the ministry’s ground to interview the spiritual leader.
On what the church knew about the incident, Ugwuoke said:
“We make haste to state that the report was a carefully crafted mendacious narrative calculated to tarnish the image of Fr Mbaka who in his amiable nature could not have done or directed any of those alleged acts of assault on the BBC team or anyone as alleged against him.
“An eye witness account of what happened reveals that one Fr Obiekeze (Cajetan) who estranged himself from the ministry and made a viral video with BBC recently abusing Fr Mbaka and his perceived romance with President Muhammadu Buhari, came to join Fr Mbaka at the altar during his last Wednesday’s weekly ministry programme.
“The said Fr Obiekezie persistently insisted that Fr Mbaka should grant him an interview at his altar. Fr Mbaka in his loving, forgiving and welcoming nature embraced the said priest but however declined the priest’s demand to interview him at the altar wondering when the said priest became a media practitioner and the organization he was working for.
“Unknown to anyone in the ministry, the said priest came with some persons with an unknown identity who were secretly recording the day’s ministry programme until they were accosted by the ministry security suspecting them to be assassins on a surveillant (hic) mission. The said ministry security seized the equipment of the strange fellows and sought to know their identities.
“Later in the evening after Fr Mbaka was through with the programme and retired to the parish house to continue his consultation with worshippers waiting to see him, altercations between the fellows and the security men at Fr Mbaka’s parish house drew Fr Mbaka’s attention to them and his timely intervention helped to save the situation.
“Fr Mbaka was surprised when the unknown fellows identified themselves as coming from BBC with Fr Obiekezie. Surprised by such obvious betrayal and stage-managed visit from a fellow priest, Fr Mbaka directed that every of their seized equipment be returned to them and made sure no one hurt either the priest or the unknown visitors he surreptitiously came with.
“Fr Mbaka nor the ministry never invited the said BBC team to the ministry neither was Fr Mbaka nor the ministry notified of their presence by anyone as alleged.”
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