BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN CITY — CRISIS is brewing between the Catholic Diocese of Auchi in Edo State and the family of the deceased Parish priest of St Thomas Moore Catholic Church, Sobe, Owan West Local Government Council, Rev. Father Peter Ayala, who was found dead in his room last Sunday.
While the church believes that the Rev. Father was killed while cleaning his gun that Sunday morning, the family told Vanguard that the church was too hasty in reaching such conclusion, asserting that somebody may have murdered their son.
A family source who does not want his name in print, told Vanguard yesterday that “the church has not helped matters. Wherein that police investigation is still on-going they are saying that it could be suicide and it was pasted on the website of the Catholic Diocese of Auchi. The story they told us, the family members, does not look straight to us.
“What we have been told is that they found him dead with the gun by his side, then there was a spanner beside him, which looks like he was servicing the gun. The question is that: if you shoot a gun does it not vibrate? So if the Rev Father was servicing the gun and it actually went off then that gun should not be found by his side. So the whole thing looks fishy. We are still asking the question: what killed him? The story they are giving us does not make sense to us.
“Remember, nobody was there, nobody has said he was there when it happened. So we are only creating scenario that this is the possibility. But beyond everything, should the church pronounce before the police that he was killed by the gun when the police is yet to investigate the case?”
However, the family still wants to know what or who killed our brother because the explanation we have does not make sense to us. He was one of the most gentlemen men I have ever seen, that is why we believe that something is wrong somewhere” the source told Vanguard.
According to him, “although the body of Rev. Fr. Peter Ayala was found lying lifelessly in his pool of blood with a locally manufactured gun and a big spanner on his body and floor, respectively, they were only some of the clues on which experts examinations must be effected to ascertain more authentic proofs of what had led to the death.”
He berated some section of the media that concluded that the late priest committed suicide. “Whatever must be stated by anybody hitherto were probabilities in as much as experts examinations could prove otherwise. For all others who are prone to engage in some innuendos as regard the death of Rev. Fr. Peter Ayala, I wish to caution so that they keep in mind that death is death, whenever, wherever and in whatever way and manner it occurs, it cannot and should constitute an occasion for derision, uncharitable assumptions and calumny against the living, the dead or both.
Bishop Dunia said he knew the late “calm, modest and well behaved Peter Ayala who worked under me as a seminarian when I was the parish priest of St Joseph Catholic Church, Emeora seventeen years ago and as a priest who collaborated with me nonetheless similarly in the Diocese of Auchi until his passage from this sinful world.”
Rev. Fr. Ayala was ordained in 1997