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Bishop Crowther Memorial Pri,Sch Onitsha Belongs To Anglican Not Roman Catholic

Nigeria Student Forum / General Discussion / Metro News / Bishop Crowther Memorial Pri,Sch Onitsha Belongs To Anglican Not Roman Catholic (67) Views

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Precious Okoro

100Level, Nigeria.


As we all know that Anambra State is the first Christian community that received the Gospel in Igbo land through the effort of Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther about 161 years ago dated back to 27th July 1857. This is the possible date of the beginning of development and civilization in Igbo land, Eastern Nigeria and Anambra State in particular.

From then, the gospel, education and development spread. 28 years later, in 1885, the Roman Catholic Missionary Society came to be part of the evangelization of Igbo land which had already taken off earlier. This was a welcome development because the preaching of the gospel, education and development is every Christian’s business, which no denomination whether Anglican, Roman Catholic or Pentecostal should monopolise. In this spirit, the Anglican CMS, led by Bishop Crowther, accommodated the Roman Catholic Church as partners in mission and let them use some and/or part of the lands earlier given to them. In their centenary celebration publications, the Roman Catholic Church acknowledged this fact by attesting that the Holy Trinity land, now Basilica, was given to them by Bishop Crowther (Ref: Pgs. 17 & 18 – A Hundred Years of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nigeria, by the Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province Centenary History Commission, edited and prefaced by the then Rev. Fr. Celestine A. Obi and Archbishop Francis A. Arinze respectively. Published in 1985. When one watches what is happening in the present Anambra State, he would be saddled with so many questions;

What is happening? Where are we going? What is the future of this state? Where would the Roman Catholic domination plan of Igbo land lead us? What is happening in the religious / political landscape of Igbo land and Anambra in particular, where church leaders have left their moral duty of preaching the gospel and correcting the ills in the society, but are now actively involved in politics, committing the ills they should have corrected only to achieve a denominational agenda against the peace, development and general interest of the State. This made us to refer to what is happening in ASUBEB office, the struggle to frustrate Anglicans and other denominations management of school owned by Anglicans and other denominations) only for the Roman Catholic Church. Some years ago an Acting Chairman Catholic Knight) wrote a Letter to all Officers in charge of the 21 Local Government Education Authorities in the State, banning the use of schools outside church premises for church activities. Supposedly, only to score a denominational point of ejecting St. Simon’s Bishop Crowther Memorial Anglican Church out of Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School. (the purported Head Teacher of the school), who seems to be the only HM that received the letter, took it upon herself to implement it with the support of the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Authorities who sent a Very Reverend and four other Roman Catholic priests, two Rev. Sisters, (Onitsha North LGA Officer in charge) and many others too numerous to mention to perfect their plan. Even when the Roman Catholic Church (St. John the Apostle) in the premises of Patrick Okolo and Anyogu Primary Schools at Modebe Avenue / Iboku Street, is still using the school building without any disturbance. In fact, the alter table and crucifix of the Church are permanently inside the classrooms hall. The list goes on and on. But the Crowther Head mistress claims that the “order” has been executed 100% in the state except at Crowther Primary School. Ridiculous! The name of the school alone (Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School)

has spoken volume of the ownership of the land. Shanahan Primary School is a public / government school named after Bishop Shanahan (of the RCM), a contemporary of Bishop Crowther. The Roman Catholic Church has fenced the compound, relocated the school and built many structures inside the compound (including church, private school, hall, etc).

Should that of Bishop Crowther be different? That Crowther Primary School is a public school does not change the fact that the land belongs to the church. This is because right inside the now Basilica compound are three public schools (Sancta Maria, Immaculate and Holy Trinity). If the Holy Trinity compound (which was given by Bishop Crowther) is enclosing three public schools, a former post office and well known government field, that Crowther Primary School is a public school is then not a case. More so, Patrick Okolo and Anyogu Primary Schools at Modebe / Iboku Street were fenced by the Roman Catholic Church and established a church there. The same with Shanahan Primary School at Oguta Road / Old Cemetery, New Market Road Primary School at New Market Road, Pioneer Primary School (CKP), etc. These are just a few around here, not to talk about those at Fegge and other areas. The list is inexhaustible! What about the seizure (by the Roman Catholic Church) of Niger and Otumoye Primary

Schools at Fegge?

Many plans have been made previously by the Roman Catholic Head Teacher and Roman Catholic Church Authorities. They had invited a Pentecostal Church (The Lord’s Chosen) and gave them one of the block of the School. The former HM kept fighting the Church until her grace expired and the wrath of God visited her. She slumped and died in the compound as she was about entering her car, after threatening the Church. Meanwhile, the Lord’s Chosen Church later discovered the truth and relocated on their own. The Signpost of the School with the inscription “Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School” was stolen. A new Signpost for the school was mounted with same inscription on the stolen one, only to discover the next day that the “Bishop” on the name has been erased with a white paint. The Anglicans considering their stake in the school undertake to fence the compound; a group of hired thugs came and pulled down the fence and the work commenced again after nobody claimed to be responsible.

On Tuesday June 22, 2010, about 2pm, a team of ASUDED men (suspected to have come from Awka) with their vehicle (Bus) and three armed policemen came to the site. About 3.30pm the same day, the Commissioner for Education herself came to the site, complimented the work after enquiries and left. That same day also, at about 8.10 pm, there was an attempt to destroy the fence. About seven partitions facing the Basilica gate were partly damaged by some hit-and-run thugs. Incidentally, a Youth Meeting (which dismissed around that time) was held at the Basilica that day.

It was the damages that the labourers were repairing the next day (Wednesday June 23, 2010, at

about 1pm), when suddenly “ASUDEB” men with thugs, well armed policemen (numbering over 15), and a bull-dozer, invaded the site, drove away the labourers and demolished the Ridge Road (Basilica) side

of the fence. As at the time of the attack, the fencing had almost been completed. Work was actually at the finishing-touches level, to bring the Old Nkisi Road side of the fence to eleven / twelve blocks

from the ground level with that of the Ridge Road (Basilica) side, as well as erecting pillars to mount the gates. They went to the Onitsha and Awka ASUDEB offices the next day (Thursday June 24), to find out

the reason behind this atrocity. The Onitsha Zonal Manager told us that he had no hand in the operation, sometimes thugs who claimed to be ASUBEB staff to harass and threaten the Church during service, A

big question again for us in this state is ASUBEB, ASUDEB, an extension of Roman Catholic programme are they fighting for the interest of the state or of their Roman Catholic Church, The government and the Member of the House should wake up and understand what is really happening.

Omunwagboka Primary School was a government school originally inside the now Basilica Compound, that used to have two sessions, popularly called Omu I and Omu II. It was very lately (about 1981 / 82) that the Roman Catholic Church, in their bid to accumulate more land and misplace identities, facilitated / engineered the relocation of Omu II to Crowther Memorial Primary School Compound as an afternoon school, while Omu I was renamed Sancta Maria Primary School, still a government / public school, which now occupies the structures of the former Omu I and Omu II. The other three government schools fenced into the Holy Trinity Compound were not left out of the manipulation. (Queen of the) Niger I and Niger II Primary Schools were changed to Immaculate Primary School, while Obianazonwu Primary School was renamed Holy Trinity Primary School. These were all and are still government / public schools. The plot through the HM of Omunwagboka Primary School to lure the Egwuatu (Omunwagboka) family of Onitsha into claiming ownership of the land (by her address during Omunwagboka’s first inter–house sports). However, I am sure that the family knows very well that Omunwagboka Primary School is a wonderer currently taking refuge at Bishop Crowther Primary School Compaound. I am sure they know where Omunwagboka Primary School Land is, definitely not at Crowther Primary School Compound.

What about the construction of a filing station that was then on-going on part of a land that originally was a government field? Why did ASUDEB not start their demolition there? Why should it be at Bishop

Crowther Memorial Primary School, where the fence is trying to save the pupils and teachers from all sorts of danger that they are exposed to, which made them to cry out for help? Why a government agency should be involved in this ugly religious politics, to the extent of maliciously damaging a project it should have ordinarily commended and encouraged.

In 2013 the governor His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi handed back schools to their original owners in which there were so many irregularities since many Anglican schools where wrongly handed back to Roman Catholic Church and government school were also taken. The Governor on a good note appointed a panel of enquiry to resolve the crisis but the panel result was manipulated because the Chairman and the Secretary rushed and concluded the report without consulting with the committee.

There are recent moves to frustrate the St. Peters BCM Anglican church in the compound have intensified the church and school sign post have been defaced and removed so many times. Arm robbery and vandalization of church compound. We pray the good Lord to help our State in Jesus name.

This is a wake up call to the government, members of the House to sit up and correct the religious political issues in the state before it is too late, knowing the gravity of religious crisis in the nation and any state that is affected.

It is a wake up call for the citizens of Anambra State to work for the peace, progress of the state before it is too late.

It is wake up call for the Church Members to ask their leaders where they are leading them to.

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