St Theresa of Calcutta Catholic Church, Awada Onitsha had a raw deal on Tuesday when some middle-aged men who claimed to be enforcers of the sit at home stormed the church and ordered the worshipers to disperse. This happened early morning.
The boys, who are with sticks said they were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, adding that the worshipers had no reason to step out of their houses on a day the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was appearing in court.
A female worshiper who said her house is three buildings from the church said the invasion of the church by the boys caused pandemonium as many people ran helter-skelter, adding that it was the wisdom of the parish priest and the celebrant at the Mass that saved the situation.
She said: “This morning (yesterday) I went for the 5:30 am morning Mass in my church, St Theresa of Calcutta Parish in Awada, it is close to Ukaegbu junction.
“We were halfway into the Mass when some group of boys suspected to be members of IPOB entered the church. They were carrying sticks and cans and went straight to the alter.
“They approached our parish priest, Rev Fr Joseph, and asked him why he was celebrating Mass on a day their master was going to court. They were quite a number of them and were visibly angry.
“Everybody in the church took to their heels. There would have been a stampede because there were a lot of people in the morning Mass today. I ran to a building close to the church.
“Father Joseph told them we were holding Mass today to pray for the release of Nnamdi Kanu. He used diplomacy to talk to them, and even asked them if they were really for Ndi Igbo or Against Ndi Igbo? They now said okay and if that was so, the people in the church were for them.
“They called back everyone to continue the Mass since they were convinced that the church people were Biafrans.
“Some of us were so afraid that we could not return, so we went home from there. They apologized to the priest and left.
“The same group went out and saw a tricycle rider. Nobody knew why the man was outside because on sit-at-home days, one hardly saw tricycles outside. They beat up the man and set his tricycle ablaze”.
It was gathered that as the information of what happened at the church went round, many people who tried to travel very early to beat the sit at home, had to turn back.
As usual on sit at home days, most streets were deserted and there is hardly any vehicle on the road.
Many schools directed their students not to come to school on Tuesday, while all the markets remained closed.