We have reliably gathered that if the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, does not personally intervene, the Catholic Diocese of Ogoja, may with the blessings of the bishop, Donatus Edet Akpan, have no part to play in the widely publicised burial of Stephen Akomaye Ukpukpen, until his death was the member representing Obudu State Constituency in the Cross River State House of Assembly.
A Catholic source who informed www.calitown.com about this development pointed out that the church’s anticipated action is tied to a rule within Catholic Church circles which clearly insists that the burial of a Catholic faithful(s) must be done at least two week’s after the death; Ukpuken’s corpse has exceeded the stipulated two weeks.
“Steve’s corpse stayed this long because Ayade has been unsteady. See, the deceased is the legislator representing him and he wanted to be fully engaged, not be absent while Steve is lowered. Now, he has been advised to make a special appeal to the bishop and you people have to understand the weight this kind of appeal carries. It is not Steve’s fault that he was not buried within the stipulated time and we must carefully avoid denying him a Catholic burial, it will be a sad thing”, one source explained.
Those within the church opposing full Catholic burial rites for Ukpukpen are insisting that the Church must not deploy double standards in dealing with her faithful. “The Catholic Church in Ogoja Diocese, if we must know, is not governed at the instance of the state governor and he cannot interfere in how we conduct ourselves. He can appeal to the bishop, but we know that the man is under no obligation to do as the governor wants, if he sets aside a few things and grants this exception, he would have set a ready precedence that will be capitalized on”, www.calitown.com, was told.
Before going to press late this evening, our sources could not immediately ascertain if Ayade had placed the call to the bishop and what the outcome is. Meanwhile Ukpukpen is scheduled for burial on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Obudu, North of Cross River State.
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