Andrew Nkea, Bishop of Mamfe expected to appear before the Court of First Instance in Buea alongside other Bishops and religious leaders, has written a letter to Christians. In the letter he urges them to shun violence and rather pray for the persons who sued the clergy. He also says Christians should pray for the conversion of the complainants and their “sponsors”.
“On Monday the 17th of April, 2017, while we, of the Diocese of Mamfe, were celebrating our Priestly Ordinations and basking in our quiet enjoyment in Manyu Division, some people totally unkown to us from Fako Division, namely, Dr. John Lyonga Efande, Ikome Williams Ligange and Alianto Ngala, through their Legal Counsel, Barrister Achu Julius Ngu Tabe, dragged us to the Court of First Instance in Buea, Fako Division and caused the State Counsel of the same Fako to summon the Bishops of Buea, Mamfe and Kumba to appear in Court on Monday the 24th of April, 2017 at 9 am prompt.” the letter reads in part.
Going by the Bishop, the seven charges against the Bishops could be summarized in that the Bishops have refused to reopen the Catholic schools and thus supporting the strike of the Anglophone Teachers. “These people are requesting that the Bishops be convicted and imprisoned and pay damages of 150 billion CFA,” said he.
While noting that he will respect the summons which he describes as manipulations by “forces of darkness” the prelate reiterates that he stands by the Communiqué which all the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province wrote saying that “We have never closed schools and our doors remain open”.
Below is an excerpt of the letter:
As the Bishop of Mamfe, I stand by the Communiqué which all the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province wrote saying that “We have never closed schools and our doors remain open”. The Bishop of Mamfe does not live in Fako, nor does he own schools in Fako and this makes me worried that anybody can sit down in any part of the country and decide that I am a criminal and I have to go to court to prove that I am not. It is all a calculated attempt by some forces of darkness, that we shall get to know sooner than later, to humiliate, intimidate and incriminate the Church and rub the bishops in mud with wanton disregard and disrespect for God, whom these men in spite their human weaknesses, represent.
They may end up discovering that they are fighting against God himself (Acts 5:39). It is the reign of the anti-Christ and this is not new. It is a struggle between light and darkness, it is a battle between good and evil, it is a wrestle between sin and righteousness and a confrontation of truth and lies. This is exactly what happened to my Boss who is the Son of a carpenter, Jesus Christ. He was blackmailed and dragged from Annas the High priest to Caiphas and then finally put before Pontius Pilate who unjustly condemned him to death. Shame to death! On the third day he rose again from the dead – Alleluia.
Now he lives to die no more. Jesus told us to expect this when he said; “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me”(Jn.15:18-21).
As a true and law abiding son of this country, I will respect the call of the law of the state and appear before the court of Frist Instance in Buea on Monday, 24th April, 2017 at 9.am prompt. I will not waste Diocesan money, which we don’t have, to hire a lawyer and I will not prepare any defense because I believe in Christ who said: “Watch out! Men will hand you over to the local courts. They will whip you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings because of me. You will be witnesses to them and to those who aren’t Jews. “But when they arrest you, don’t worry about what you will say or how you will say it. At that time you will be given the right words to say. It will not be you speaking. The Spirit of your Father will be speaking through you.”(Mtt.10:17-20).
I therefore call on all Christians of Mamfe to do the following: Stay calm and restrain from any acts of violence, be it verbal, physical or even psychological, that will only make the situation worse. This is a call I made to all the Motor Bike Riders on the 31st of December, 2016 and to all the Youth of the Diocese during the World Youth Day on the 9th of April, 2017 and I am repeating to all Christians of Mamfe today. From the 22nd of April 2017, which is the 25th Anniversary of my ordination to the Sacred Priesthood, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel shall be recited at the end of each Mass before the final blessing, immediately after the prayer for the Diocese of Mamfe.
This prayer will go on in all the churches of Mamfe Diocese as long as the case goes on. The intention is for the conversion of the claimants and their sponsors, the good conscience and fear of God in the judges, for our entire country and for the strength of the Bishop of Mamfe. Christians from the Diocese of Mamfe and Friends of the Diocese who wish to witness this trial are free to come to Buea on this stipulated day and time and join in this “Gethsemane” experience which your chief pastors have been subjected to.
Mamfe Diocese has always been One Family and I pray all the people of the Diocese to remain united at this time of difficulty. Remember that if there is no cross, then our Christianity is empty and there will be no resurrection. I wish all of you once again a very happy Easter and abundance of God’s blessing. Given in Galilee, Israel, this Friday, 21st April, 2017.