Churches Battle Over Ownership Of School In Anambra

Catholic youths and Anglican youths have clashed in Anambra State over the ownership of state-owned Lafiagi Primary School in Fegge area of Onitsha.

The school situated between St Michael’s Catholic Church and St Faith’s Anglican Church, both in Fegge, was before the clash used by both churches for social activities.

On Sunday, however, an incident occurred during Sunday’s worship as youths of both churches tried to stop the other from making use of the school field.

Speaking with newsmen yesterday, Parish Priest of St Faith’s Anglican Church, Rev Canon Obiora Uzochukwu, said there had been a lingering crisis over the ownership of the land where the school was built.

He stated that trouble started when the state government gave the Anglican Church the space in the school to conduct its church service.

“The Anglican Communion has been worshiping at the primary school for more than 40 years and we view the recent attack by the Catholics as a way of playing scripts written by unknown hands to intimidate us.

“They (Catholics) came to the open space where we normally have our weekly activities, but the one that broke the carmel’s back was the incident where members of the MOD of the Catholic Church swooped on our members and destroyed two canopies set for Sunday’s service,” Rev Obiora said.

Anglican versus Roman Catholic Skullcap
Anglican versus Roman Catholic Skullcap

In his reaction, Parish Priest of St. Michael Catholic Church, Rev Fr, Celestine Aniofor, said the school in question did not belong to either of the denominations, adding that it was a government school.

“Lafiaji Primary School belongs to the state government. What happened was that the members of MOD in the church got approval from the headmistress of the school to do their camping programme in the school from Friday to Sunday. When they came to report to me that members of the Anglican Church had used canopies to block the field where they were doing parade, I quickly pleaded with them to give peace a chance.

“The Anglican Communion has been dragging the school, which is a state government school and ASUDEB had earlier barred any church from having service there. So when the MOD men came, the Anglican people came to make trouble and went as far as inviting the soldiers to arrest the MOD commander and it took us several efforts to get him on bail.

“On Sunday again, they came with the police and we see this as purely madness because nobody is dragging anything with them,” Aniofor said.

Sources say the government will invite the two parties to resolve the matter, and may ban both from making use of the school.