The head of the late Chief A.O. Ezeoke’s family, Dr Sylvester Ezeoke, has dragged the Bishop of Awka Diocese in Anambra State, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, to court over his father’s will.
He alleged that the bishop, as a principal executor of his father’s will, was playing a game suggestive that he did not want to divest his father’s property to the beneficiaries.
Ezeoke explained that also sued at the Anambra State High Court was the counsel for the bishop, Rev. Fr. Chukwujekwu Obiaora.
He said another arm of the matter was pending at the Federal High Court, sitting in Awka, even as he expressed dismay how certain people were bent on denying the family their inheritance.
Ezeoke said, “On behalf of my other siblings, I’m making this presentation for the world to hear our cry of supplication about the intimidation, oppression, injustices, disregard for the rule of law, character assassination, threat to my life and that of my brother, Ezeoke Celestine Mmaduchukwu, confiscation of properties that lawfully belong to me and my family, being meted out to us by the Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, through his agents led by Rev. Fr. Edwin Sunday Chukwujekwu Obiora and his thugs.
“Our father was a very close confidant to Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese, whom he frequently paid visits and sought counsel and advice. During his last days, he told us to see Bishop Ezeokafor as his friend and confidant, that if we needed any help or advice when he was gone, we should always go to him.
“That he left a very important message and our belongings in his care to hand over to us when he was no more. When our father died, I took my siblings to see Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, to inform him on what had befallen us.
“We also asked him if there was any financial help he could offer to us as we knew he had access to our father’s accounts. He told us to go and borrow money if we didn’t have money to bury our daddy.”
Ezeoke added that “At a meeting, he (bishop) told us that our father had left a will with him and that he was not experienced in dealing with such matters, that he would hand over our affairs to his legal department headed by Rev. Fr. Edwin Sunday Chukwujekwu Obiora.
“We got invitation to the probate a few weeks later and on getting there, the probate registrar mentioned the existence of two wills; an earlier one deposited by our father and another one deposited by someone a few days after his death and that he would read the latter one.
“After reading the will to us in the presence of Bishop Ezeokafor and his agents, we applied for a certified true copy of the will, which we got. But my brother and I noticed that my father’s signature on it had been transplanted or scanned unto the will.”
He said after that incident, the family and its businesses had been under threat, resulting in police arrest and intimidation.
When contacted, the bishop’s lawyer, Dr Obiaora, said the matter was in court and that it would be prejudicial to discuss it in the press.
He said, “Go and tell them that the matter is in court and they can’t talk on it. The people that addressed you are two out of the eleven children of the late Chief Ezeoke; ask them where others are?”