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Bishop Reinstates Suspended Priest 

By Solomon Lyonga Ikundi*

The Bishop of Buea, Immanuel Balanjo Bushu, has lifted a suspension he imposed on a priest in the Buea Diocese, Reverend Father James Ekwede. Father Ekwede was suspended in September 2007 for allegedly being at the origin of a series of scandals and financial misappropriation that threatened the image of the Church. After his suspension in 2007, Father Ekwede was ordered to leave the presbytery. He returned to the Cathedral Parish in Small Soppo two months ago, but could not celebrate Mass.

Two years after, The Post learnt that Bishop Bushu had a one-on-one discussion with Fr. Ekwede in the morning of Sunday, August 30, and gave him the green light to return to the ministry. Addressing the Christians of the Regina Pacis Cathedral, Small Soppo on Sunday, August 30, while announcing his return to the Church, Fr. Ekwede thanked the Christians of Small Soppo in particular and the Buea Diocese as a whole for their spiritual support.

"I went through thick and thin, I moved into darkness, I confronted trials and temptation, but God guided me to the Promised Land," he said. Fr. Ekwede stated that he symbolises God’s love to mankind, God’s grace and forgiveness. He promised all and sundry that he would start anew and serve the people of God in the Diocese of Buea.

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Buea, Monsignor Edward Ngalame, urged the Christians of the Cathedral Parish to remain prayerful and follow the example of Christ "who teaches us every day to rise each time we fall". After Mass on that Sunday, most faithful of the Regina Pacis Cathedral likened Fr. Ekwede to the prodigal son. Rev. Fr. James Ekwede was ordained priest on April 3, 1997 by the then Bishop of Buea, Pius Suh Awa.

(UB Journalism Student On Internship)

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