2023: Catholic Priest suspended for joining Benue guber race

Rev. Father Alia

Rev. Father Hyacinth Alia has been suspended by the Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Gboko, the Most Reverend William Avenya from public ministry for participating in partisan politics.

Alia is contesting for governorship of Benue State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). In a letter dated May 20, 2022, to all the Priests, Religious and Laity, Catholic Dioceses of Gboko signed by the Bishop titled, “Suspension of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia from Sacred Ministry.”

The letter read in part, “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 have 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, Head of Media and Publicity, Alia 2023 Gubernatorial Organization, Mr. Kula Tersoo responded to the suspension of the Priest in a statement. He described the action of the Bishop as “normal”.

Tersoo said, “He said that as stated clearly in the letter of suspension, he is only suspended from celebrating public Eucharistic Masses, but he remains a priest of the Catholic Church forever. After his tenure ends in public civil service he shall resume his public masses and ministry.”

He also quoted the Priest as saying, ‘From the day I took the decision to answer the overwhelming calls of my people to contest the Governorship of Benue with the aim to rescue our people from the shackles of maladministration, I was fully aware of the sacrifice I was going to make. 

‘And I am convinced that it is worth the cause I am fighting to serve the souls of Benue people and the State. I have a freer leverage to give more time to achieving this pursuit.

‘I remain resolute and please don’t be anxious either because I am well prepared and focused. More importantly, I am more charged because I have seen the genuineness in the agitations for me to step in and help salvage the already sorry situation the state has found itself in for sometime.”

‘As stated in the last paragraph of the suspension letter, I shall return to the public pulpit after I must have served out my mandate as the Governor of Benue state’.

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