Benue 2023: Church suspends priest for joining governorship race

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The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Gboko, the Most Rev. William Avenya, has suspended Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, from public ministry for getting involved in partisan politics.

Recall that Rev. Fr.  Hyacinth Alia, a Catholic priest recently joined the Benue governorship race on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the promise to uphold social justice and adhere strictly to the context of ‘One Benue, One Brotherhood’

Recall also that in 1992, Benue State had a civilian governor and Catholic priest, late Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu.

Alia’s suspension is contained in a letter dated May 20, 2022 and sent to all priests, religious and laity of the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, dated May 20, 2023.

The letter entitled ‘Suspension of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia from sacred ministry’ was signed by Avenya.

The letter reads: “May I begin by acknowledging and appreciating you for your commitment and dedication to the work of spreading the Good News of Christ.

“I wrote to communicate to you the suspension of my priest, Revd. Fr. Hyacinth lormem Alia from public ministry after series of admonitions to him Ex can. 1371, 2° CIC.

“The Mother Church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partisan politics on their own Ex can, 285, 3 CIC.

”You are aware that my son, your brother and your priest has purchased the party forms to contest for the Office of the Governor of Benue State under the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is totally against our vocation.

“Therefore, to respond to the spiritual and pastoral needs of the Church in the Catholic Diocese of Gboko, I have suspended him from the exercise of sacred ministry.”

The Catholic Bishop noted that the canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and lasts until he ceases from contumacy.

In his reaction, spokesman for Alia 2023 Gubernatorial Organization, Mr. Kula Tersoo, said the suspension is a normal practice of the church.

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