- Odili Okeke said the church cannot be investigating every person that donates to it
- He however said it may chose to reject offering of convicted criminals
- He condemned those asking him to resign in the wake of the Ozubulu attack
Most Rev Hilary Odili Okeke who is the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese has said that they do not investigate the source of wealth of their donors and thus cannot ot .
The religious leader spoke on the heels of a tragic violent attack in a church in Ozubulu, Anambra state on Sunday, August 6.
It was reported by security operatives that the attack was carried out by people from the community and was a spill-over of confrontation from South Africa.
The Sun reports that the Bishop expressed sadness over the tragic incident but said the church cannot be reporting every donor to the police except the person has been convicted of crime.
He said: “It is very disastrous, I really believe it was a terrible thing that happened to us. That it happened in the church even makes it worse and it is unacceptable to us or any other one. Violence in the church is church desecration and the implication is that the devil is at work. The devil can work anywhere. That the devil led people to come into the church to kill shows that the devil is very much at work.
“As for the cleansing, we would have done that, especially if the church was dedicated, but this church was not dedicated. If it were a dedicated church, it would be rededicated. All we have to do is to pray. We have already done that. The day we went there, we discovered that it was sealed and we went to a nearby place and celebrated mass, not only for God to give eternal rest for the dead but a speedy recovery of the wounded and also for God to touch the lives of those who committed the heinous crime.”
“The lessons are for mankind to know that the devil has always been at work, so they have to be careful. I always call upon people to change, that the kingdom of God is at hand. Those who think that they can gain the whole world should know that live is vanity upon vanity. The important thing is to live in such a way that when we leave this world, we will go and live with God forever. That is my life, that is my vocation and that is what I’m here for. That I die today does not mean anything to me. The important thing is to be ready to die, ready to go to God.”
Bishop Okeke expressed anger at those calling for his resignation after the incident calling on them to resign first.
He said: “But if you get the information that the person is making his money through a dubious way in criminality, then you know what to do. It is not just a question of anybody who brings money or offers anything to the church, you go to the police and ask them to investigate this man’s source of wealth before you accept it. It is not done. If you do it, then even in the church we should not be accepting any money because evil people can come to church and give.
"It is God who knows if the person is giving the money from criminal or immoral source. God knows everybody and will reward the person accordingly. If you know that the person is a criminal that is when you now tell him, my man go and change.”
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He noted that about fifteen churches in the Diocese were built by private individuals and that it is only when someone has been convicted of crime that they would not accept offers and donations from them.
He said: “Even in the Bible it is not the work of the church to begin to cast people away. The church is for the saints and sinners and it is our duty to continue to preach to the sinners.”
Meanwhile, A 5-man federal government delegation was dispatched to Anambra state over the massacre at St. Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.
The development was made public in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the Acting President on Media and Publicity.
Watch a NAIJ.com TV video below of the political atmosphere in Anambra