Armed robbers invade Nsukka Catholic Cathedral

By The Citizen

The arrow of God is no longer at ease and thing has fallen apart in the house of God.

This aptly described how four armed robbers invaded the house of God at St. Theresa's Catholic Cathedral, Nsukka Enugu State for gold and millions of Naira.

Crime guard gathered that the hoodlums allegedly armed with a long gun and three shot pistols sneaked into the cathedral in the wee hours and made straight to the Bishop's residence, chop off window burglaries after tying up three security men hands and legs and locked them up at the Bishop's Kitchen, ransacked the Bishop's residence in search of over N100million and gold Ornaments together with other valuables.

What could armed robbers be looking for in God's house? The robbers after cutting the windows and doors in the Bishop's residence met Rev.Fr. Eugene Odo secretary to the Bishop of Nsukka diocese and requested him to bring out all the cash in the diocese that have not been lodged in the Bank. The priest gently brought out the weeks collection and gave to them and the shameless robbers and dullards said it was not the kind of money they are looking for, The Priest allegedly swore to the heaven that the paltry sum was the only available cash at that moment. The unsatisfied bandits ransacked all the rooms at the Bishops court but could not find any other cash outside what was given to them.

Angered by the poor cash, the robbers resort to property, took the diocesan laptop where all activities programmers and history of the dioceses were stored, also collected Rev. Fr. Eugene Odo's private laptop, one Ipad, palm top and his two hand sets and ordered the priest to take them to the residence of the principal St. Theresa's College (STC) Nsukka Rv. Fr. Igwebueze.

Narrating his ordeal with robbers Rev. Fr. Eugene Odo said that the experience was his most horrifying one ever as a priest, explaining that he was fast asleep when the robbers entered the house as he worked late into the night.

When the four armed robbers met me and requested me to give them money, I only pointed to the Paltry amount available at the moment but they were not satisfied and ransacked the entire place without any other cash found, they took the diocesan laptop, my two handsets, I pad palm top, wrist watches, digital camera and video camera. What pained me most was my computer solar bag which serves as a generator. I bought the solar bag in Italy at the cost 200 euros.

I pleaded with the robbers not to take the diocesan laptop but they questioned whether I was aware that they are armed robbers? I said yes I know but at least for the sake of God they should drop the diocesan laptop, a plea the robbers never obliged me. After much harassment, the robbers ordered me to lead them to the residence of the Principal of STC, an order I equally turned down as they would lead me out and kill me. It was at this juncture they asked me to say my last prayer while of them pulled his trigger to fire me but the alleged leader the four men gang asked him not to shoot.

They questioned whether I made any phone call across to the police? I replied I did not know when they entered the compound, talkless of reaching out to the police as I was alone in the Bishop's residence.  Bishop emeritus Rt. Rv. DR. Francis Okobo has moved to his retirement home and the new Bishop Rt. Rev. Prof. Godfrey Onah has not packed in to the Bishop's court due some renovation works on going at the residence.

It could be recalled that the Cathedral administrator on Sunday   preceding Tuesday the   robbers invaded the Cathedral had presented a balance sheet of the total income and expenditure   of the Cathedral for 2013 fiscal year ending December 31,2013 to the Cathedral congregation and announced the   balance. The robbers may have allegedly acting on information or may be at the church when the statement of account for 2013 was announced, invaded the house of God to cart away the amount announced in the church.

The Bishop's secretary Rv. Fr. Odoh explained that he would not say whether the robbers were actually looking for the Money announced in the church Sunday before they struck on Tuesday but said that the highest collection contained in the statement of account for 2013 was during the Episcopal Ordination of the new Bishop of the diocese, others were from the laity councils, CYON, CMO, CWO MOD among other groups.

After several hours when the robbers found out that there were no other cash, they called me idiot and took me to the Bishop's kitchen, unlocked the kitchen and brought the three security man attached to St. Theresa's College (STC) Nsukka and forced them to lead them to the   principal's residence and left me alone to my own mercy.

Crime guard gathered that the dare devils and agents of darkness allegedly collected the principal's laptop and an undisclosed amount of money with other valuables despites the ill health condition of the Rev.Fr. Igwebueze principal of the college. According to the earlier statement of Fr. Odoh the robbers had asked him to bring out the women they heard their voices at the point of entry into the residence.

But he swiftly replied, 'What could a woman be doing in a priests residence at the wee hours of their entry', explaining that he was all alone in the Bishop's Court. He then asked them to go round again to see if any woman was kept in any of the rooms. 'I do not know what you want again', he asked.

Fr. Odoh noted that both he and Fr Igwebueze next morning then lodged the incident at both Nsukka police Area Command and the urban police division, Nsukka, adding that both the Area Commander, Ros-Armson Haladu (ACD) and the team stormed the scene of the incident and took inventory of damages and items stolen.

The catholic bishop of Nsukka diocese, Rt Rev. Prof Godfrey Onah had in a homily at the cathedral asked the bandits that invaded the bishop's court to quietly return all the items they collected or face the option of the wrath of God within few days. The bishop noted that the robbers should come to him if they want him and should leave his priests alone, he warned.

Meanwhile, the Area Commander, Ros-Armson Haladu (ACP) has assured to track down the robbers that invaded the Bishop's residence, adding he moved into action by drafting fierce detectives to unveil the circumstances surrounding the incident at the Bishop's residence and track down the alleged fleeing robbers to face the wrath of law. Meanwhile no arrest has been made as at the time of filling this report. Vanguard