Catholic Church suspends Benue priest for joining governorship race

The Catholic Church has suspended Benue governorship aspirant Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia from public ministry for getting involved in partisan politics.

Bishop of the Diocese of Gboko Most Rev. William Avenya signed the suspension letter dated May 20.

The letter read, “I write to communicate to you the suspension of my priest, Revd. Fr. Hyacinth lormem Alia from public ministry after series of admonitions to him.

“The Mother Church does not allow her clerics to get involved in partisan politics on their own. 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.

“This canonical suspension takes effect from the moment it is communicated to him and lasts until he ceases from contumacy.”

However, in reaction to the suspension, spokesman of Alia’s campaign organisation Kula Tersoo described the development as “a normal practice of the church.”

“Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia wishes to inform members, stakeholders and leaders of the APC family in Benue state that the suspension order pronounced on him by His Lordship, the Bishop of Gboko Catholic Diocese, William Avenya, is a normal practice of the church. He is implicitly officially freed to go on fully with his strides to rescue Benue from total collapse,” Tersoo said in a statement.

He also recalled that the late former governor of Benue Rev. Fr Moses Orshio was also suspended by the church.