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Chimamanda drags Parish Priest to Bishop for disparaging her and her family during mom’s funeral mass

Popular award winning author, Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has dragged the Catholic Parish Priest of St. Pauls, Abba, Reverend Father Christopher Ezeh, to Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, for disparaging her and her family during the Funeral Thanksgiving Mass for her late mother, Grace Ifeoma Adichie, on May 1, 2021.

Ms. Chimamanda made the allegation in a petition dated August 30, 2021, titled “Formal Complaint About Rev Fr Christopher Ezeh, Parish Priest of St Pauls, Abba” addressed to the Bishop of Awka Diocese and made available to News Band.

The petition was also copied to the Auxiliary Bishop of Awka, Most Reverend Jonas Benson Okoye and the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze.

In the complaint, the literary icon narrated how Rev. Fr. Ezeh, stood at the altar and talked in disparaging terms about her.

According to her, the clergyman referred to an interview she granted months before wherein she said that the Catholic Church had become too focused on collecting money.

“His tone was insulting and hostile,” she recounted. “My siblings and I were shocked,” she aded.

She, there and then, addressed the congregation and corrected the misconceptions the priest had given them in a calm and respectful tone.

Two prominent men, Chief Cosmas Agagbo and Njikoka Local Government Chairman, George Ozoh, also spoke up in her defence, rebuking the priest for attacking her in such an inauspicious event.

Chief Agagbo noted that he had given N900,000 to Father Ezeh to stop church collections for three months, hence, did not understand why he was still holding collection at that Mass.

Despite all pleadings, however, “the parish priest took the microphone and again continued to talk about me in an inappropriate manner,” she said, leading to an agitated congregation shouting at the parish priest.

Rather than continue the Mass, Father Ezeh ignored the discontent of his congregation and continued the “irrelevant comments”, boasting that he too, like Chimamanda, had written books, was an American citizen and had lived there.

The priest’s nonchalant remarks forced many family members and guests to walk out of the church.

“The Parish Priest’s actions would be uncharitable under any circumstances but are particularly egregious considering that they were carried out during my mother’s funeral,” lamented Chimamanda.

On another occasion, Chimamanda’s cousin Nneka Adichie Okeke went to the church to see him to approve a funeral date, having ignored their calls and text messages.

“He physically pushed Nneka out of his way. She returned home crying bitterly,” recalled the embittered author.

She also recalled her donation of N300,000 to St. Paul’s Abba in support of their bazaar in the presence of the Priest.

In her words, Father Ezeh caused much anxiety and pain to her family, trivializing the painful enormity of the late mother to the chagrin of the family and guests.

She, therefore, asked the Bishop to take action on the matter, stressing that the conduct of the Parish Priest reflects very poorly not only on the Catholic Diocese of Awka but on the Nigerian Catholic Church in general.

— News Band

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