Imo govt denies reports of rift between Uzodinma, Catholic church

The Imo State Government has denied that there is any issue between Governor Hope Uzodinma and the Catholic Church and Bishops in the State.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Hon. Declan Emelumba, on Saturday.

Emelumba said that Uzodimma, as a Christian of the Catholic faith, holds the church and its leadership in high esteem and would not undermine their authority.

According to him, the church did not allow Uzodinma to address the faithful with the executive seal of government during the installation of Archbishop Lucius Ugorji held last Thursday in Owerri, but he did not see it as a slight either on his office or authority.

Reports had emerged that there was a rift between the Governor and the Catholic church in the State.

The statement read in part, “Irrespective of the fact that the church authorities in Owerri Archdiocese did not allow the governor to use the executive seal to address the clergy and congregation during the installation of the new Archbishop, Dr. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, last Thursday, Governor Uzodinma, did not see it as a slight, either on his office or authority.

“To demonstrate that His Excellency was not in any way bothered by that incident, he went ahead to host the Apostolic Nuncio and other bishops that attended the ceremony at a state dinner that same evening.

“So, there is no animosity to warrant the speculations of the rift by the social media.”

The statement added: “What the appointee expressed was her opinion and she has retracted same to show that the government has no hand in it. Any other appointee expressing an opinion on the issue is doing so in a personal capacity.”

“The Governor has a deep respect for the church and the religious leaders and he would always accord them their due respect.”