Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author, has narrated how Christopher Eze, a priest, allegedly bullied her family when she lost both parents.
Grace, her mother, died in March last year — about eight months after James, her father, also passed away.
She was buried on May 1, 2021 while the funeral thanksgiving mass held the next day at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Njikoka LGA, Anambra state.
The event has remained a subject of interest as Chimamanda’s family and Eze, who officiated the mass, traded words, at the time.
In a recent interview with TVC, the novelist opened up on what transpired at the thanksgiving mass.
According to the writer, the funeral mass had barely started when the priest called her out over comments she made about the Catholic church in an interview.
Chimamanda said his remark left her and her family who were still grappling with the loss of their mother further devastated.
“I have never been afraid of criticism. So, if this priest had written something to criticise me, or even shouted at me at some other venue but the Holy mass of my mother’s funeral, it would have been okay,” she said.
“I really would not have minded. But to do this at my mother’s funeral… This man did not think that my mother deserved the respect, the basic courtesy of having a funeral that would not turn into a raucous market.”
The author and feminist also recounted how the priest allegedly bullied her family when her father was about to be buried over money.
“I wanted to say a lot more about the priest that day but I held back. I only told the church that I gave money. I did not tell them other things such as how the priest bullied my family when my father was buried over money. How when we presented a cow to the church, he was upset because he wanted us to monetise it,” she added.
Chimamanda also claimed the priest and his predecessor forced villagers who could barely feed themselves to make donations in the church.
“That day, I told the congregation that I give money to this church and he (Eze) knows that. So, my point is not wanting to support the church. It’s about ambushing people and forcing them to pay in the church,” she said.
“This man (Eze) has done collections in which he would ask if you have N10, come up. Villagers who cannot eat. So, you make them feel like if they don’t bring the money, they don’t get the special blessing.
“I told them…you people know that there have been times in this church when the door has been locked because there’s a special collection to force people to bring money.
“To be fair, it happened with the previous priest but in the same church and that’s one of the reasons I decided that I’m done going to church.”
The writer lamented that since the incident, efforts by her family to get justice over how the priest allegedly treated them have not yielded any result.
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