Ejike Mbaka, popular Catholic priest based in Enugu state, has been accused of assaulting a team of BBC journalists who visited his residence for an interview on Wednesday.
The journalists – Chioma Obianinwa and Nnamdi Agbanelo – were reportedly attacked by Mbaka and some men at his residence over a “negative” reportage about the priest.
The two journalists, accompanied by one Cajethan Obiekezie, also a Catholic priest, were said to have visited the AMEN prayer ground for a scheduled interview.
They, however, moved to his residence as the church service lasted longer than expected and while waiting in their car, they were reportedly surrounded by about 20 men.
The BBC quoted Obianinwa as saying the men seized their equipment and “threatened to kill them for writing ‘negative reports about Mbaka’.”
“Mbaka asked us to wait until the end of the programme for the interview. The men outside his house said BBC Igbo writes negative things about Mbaka and started beating Nnamdi, Solomon and Ndubuisi,” the reporter said.
“They gave them heavy blows on their heads and all over their body.”
Obiekezie, who had entered Mbaka’s house, came out with the priest but the latter reportedly joined in the attack, describing Obianinwa as “satanic.”
“This fired up the men to continue the attacks as Father Mbaka continued shouting and abusing us. He asked his men to seize our phones and cameras,” she was quoted to have said.
“They said they would kill us and nothing would happen. They removed my wig and tried to strangle Nnamdi. Father Obiekezie was telling them to stop but they attacked him too and seized his phone.
“At this point, Father Mbaka asked us to leave before his men killed us. He asked them to return our equipment and they chased us out of the compound. His men trailed us till we left the state to seek medical assurance and police help.”
Mbaka could not be reached for comments while there was no response to a message sent to the Adoration Ministries Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), his church.