Police beating hospitalizes four priests in Nigeria

Four priests and two lay leaders were severely beaten last month by police in Nigeria as they sought to stop the seizure of church land by local government authorities. The Diocese of Enugu of the Church of Nigeria reports that four of its clergy were beaten with clubs and iron pipes by armed policeman on 22 May 2015 after they sought to stop workers from the Enugu State Housing Corporation from clearing land owned by Christ Church, Uwani. The dispute began when local officials arrived at the site with five mechanical diggers. The six men lay on the ground in front of the machines. When the six refused to comply with police orders to move, the violence began — and ended only upon the arrival of the state police commissioner who ordered his men to stand down. The government claimed that friends of the six attempted to set the diggers alight, and attacked the Managing Director of the Enugu Housing Corporation, Emeka Vitalis Ona. In an interview with the Sun, Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma (pictured) denied claims by Mr Ona that the incident was a deliberate provocation arranged by the church to embarrass the government. Archbishop Chukwuma said the local government treated Anglicans differently from Catholics when it came to the rule of law. “It’s not the first time they are doing such a thing to us and we are aware they don’t like us but we have the right to exist like others. We share the same fence with the Catholic Seminary School, Bigard, but how many times have they disturbed them or tried to take their land? I tell you it is mere victimization.”

 
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