BY NWABUEZE OKONKWO, ONITSHA
A Catholic Priest in Onitsha Archdiocese and Spiritual Director of Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry, Uke, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obimma (a.k.a. Ebube Muonso), yesterday escaped death by whiskers when some gunmen suspected to be hired assassins fired several gun shots at him at a close range.
The incident, according to the source, occurred at about 5.30 a.m. while he was going to celebrate a morning mass for some worshippers at his Uke adoration center.
The source hinted that as he left his residence at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish, Odume Layout, Obosi, near the commercial city of Onitsha for the Uke adoration center, he saw a group of boys at Peoples’ Club Bus Stop, along Limca Road, Nkpor, near Onitsha standing aloof and making calls.
The source stated that as soon as he sighted them, he suspected that they could be bad people and he increased speed of his vehicle, suspecting that they could be on his trail.
It was gathered that as he passed through Nkpor Junction, down to Umuoji to Ojoto and then to Ideani Junction where he was supposed to branch off to his Uke adoration center, he sighted another group of men wearing police uniform.
As he slowed down his car and beckoned on one of them to inform him that some bad elements were trailing him, so that they would go after them, believing that the uniformed men he was talking to were genuine policemen, other gang members on the same police uniform who were hiding inside the bush, trooped out from their hideout and allegedly opened fire on him at a close range.
As they rained the bullets on him with their sophisticated arms, the source continued, he sped off and escaped from their sight, without being harmed.
However, non of the bullets aimed and fired at him could penetrate his body but rather pierced through his vehicle’s front and back windscreens and damaged some parts of the SUV which he was driving.
Some of the Uke worshippers who spoke to newsmen on phone over the incident, said the priest ran into the center first and later went back to his residence at the Borromeo parish.
The worshippers also quoted the victim as telling that at the center that
he always sees AK 47 riffles in his visions and dreams till last night, when he couldn’t sleep any longer.
According to them, “after all the shootings, not even his cloth was touched, adding, it appeared that when the bullets were hitting his body, it was like little ice block touching him, because of how deep he was protected by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ”.
Those who reacted to the incident, said Obimma could have been attacked by some assassins suspected to have been hired by cultists, witches and members of secret societies who felt his prayers were having adverse effects on their occult practices.
.When some newsmen visited his residence at Borromeo parish, the vehicle was seen parked and covered with tarpaulin, while the security men attached to the parish said he had just returned from a burial ceremony of another catholic priest who died and was just buried at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Cemetry, Onitsha.
All efforts to speak with him proved abortive as one if his aides, told newsmen that he was so tired to meet or speak with the press, as at the time of going to press.
Both the Director of Social Communications in Onitsha Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Pius Ukor and one of the Personal Assistants to Archbishop Valerian Maduka Okeke, Rev. Fr. Ben Ogbunuko, confirmed to newsmen on phone that the incident actually took place.
Frs. Ukor and Ogbunuko however added that they had called Fr. Obimma’s line several times to hear from him but without response.
One of Obimma’s aides who did not want his name in print, told newsmen on phone that Fr. Obimma could not speak to anybody yet on the incident until he obtains an approval from the Archbishop.
It would be recalled that tragedy struck at the Uke center on Friday, November 1, 2013 when about 28 worshippers died in a stampede that erupted during a night vigil that were attended by Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and some members of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA team campaigning for the Governor-elect, Chief Willie Obiano.