Arrest of a Catholic Priest, Governor Ben Ayade and the truth that must be told


I am a Catholic by birth and inclination.

My late father’s life – long service after leaving the West Africa Frontier Forces was as a Catholic Cathechist, working to bring the gospel and the doctrine to the people of Southern Kaduna, through Niger State to Boki.

He founded Our Lady of Farima Catholic Parish in Bunyia Irruan, where today the church reception hall is named PA LEO KIDZU MEMORIAL HALL.

My late mother, Victoria, was also for many years the leader of the Catholic Women Organisation, CWO, in the parish.

I was Baptized, Dominic and Confirmed, Michael in the Catholic church. My credentials in the church that St Peter built are therefore unimpeachable and unblemished.

I am a stakeholder in the faith and can know no peace until its members receive just recompense for their good or evil deeds, if I can help it.

Alas, there has been a rash of negative, but clearly uninformed commentary in the last few days following allegations of arrest of a Catholic priest by the military in Cross River State on the orders of the Governor.

Governor Ben Ayade, has been accused of orchestrating the arrest, in spite of himself being a Catholic knight.

His traducers have had an orgy of innuendoes declaring for themselves a feast where they have fed themselves fat with no truths and garnished same with full – grown lies.

Ayade has been given a thousand labels for an offence he did not commit and for a tragedy in which both Governor Ben Ayade and the Catholic church are equally yoked as victims.

Although the case can be made that under the Nigerian system, Governors have so much pomp and circumstance and do literarilly superintend over life and death, that is not why they should take credit for sunrise or blame for unabating rainfall, including the misdemeanors of an errant Catholic priest.

Here now is what happened as my investigations for several days have revealed.

For weeks, the Governor and members of the Governor’s family had been receiving threats from a particular individual using several phone numbers and different aliases.

The individual, a male, claimed to be a crusader for the cause of all the downtrodden people in Cross River State who was ready to wreck mayhem on the State or die trying, if the Governor did not do his bidding.

In several voice notes to the Governor and to the First Lady separately , he claimed that he was working with militants from other states who were going to liaise with their counterparts in Bakassi and Akpabuyo to invade and pulverise the city of Calabar.

In another threatening letter he claimed to be the recipient of four First Class degrees, and the proprietor of the following companies:

  • “Sleek Casuals Calabar;
  • Sleek Automobiles Calabar;
  • Armonico Unique Services;
  • Armonico and Sons;
  • Tony Armon Farms;
  • Grasper Integrated Services
  • Don G Holdings”.

He went further to claim that:

“These are only a few of my companies. I am the only crossriverian that runs an artificial intelligence outfit…I can shut down Cross River in 10 minutes.

All I want is…Let government be responsible. let the road from Odukpani to Calabar be repaired within 24hours. I know you’re tracking me…its an effort in futility”.

And signed as:

Patrick Ghesu Tony-Armon

In another threat letter he claimed to have physically led the sacking of Calabar and warned the Governor to stop searching for the stolen public and private properties, otherwise what was coming to Calabar next would make what has already happened a child’s play, because the people have taken what belongs to them.

In another elaborate chat he sent to the Governor on WhatsApp, he listened 24 members of the Governor’s family with their correct phone numbers against their names, claiming that the list was already with the wife of the president and that they were all being trailed.

It was at this point that the Governor invited the security agencies to take over and investigate the threats.

Using satellite tracking and in collaboration with Interpol, the customized phone number which appears as a foreign number was traced to Bekwarra in Northern Cross River State.

Having taken over the investigations, the security agencies embarked on a covert operation to Bekwarra to arrest the owner of the phone and numbers only for the “culprit ” to turn out to be a Reverend Father – Titus Armon of the Catholic diocese of Ogoja, ordained only three months ago!

He was brought to Calabar for onward movement to Abuja the next day.

The Governor only became aware that a Catholic priest had been arrested the next morning, when Reverend fathers Bob Etta, Malachi Ephraim and Vincent Undie went to see him and solicit that he intervenes.

The Bishop had additionally also sent the Vicar – General of the diocese, Reverend Father Obele, and the Legal Adviser, Mr Mark Enameh to interface with the security officers and try to secure bail for the priest.

The real twist as the security agencies discovered was that Father Titus Armon who was arrested, has a senior brother, Father Ghesu Patrick Tony Armon of the same father and mother and they hail from Adadama in Abi local government area of the state.

It was further discovered that the real perpetrator of the treasonable threats was Father Ghesu Patrick Tony Armon who had cloned his junior brother’s phone to deflect the signals from his base in Eastern Nigeria to his junior brother in Bekwarra.

Father Titus (who was arrested) himself confessed that his senior brother, and indeed senior colleague had been visiting with him about four days before his arrest and had taken over use of his (Father Titus’ ) phone on the excuse that his own phone had malfunctioned.

Perhaps this is how he succeeded in cloning his younger brother’s phone. Analysis of his threats in writing and in voice notes suggest a radicalised mind with a disposition for insurgency or simply a broken personality.

His curriculum vitae includes bagging a first class in philosophy from the Pontifical Urban University in Rome, in 2010, a first class in project monitoring and evaluation from Dewsbury College, UK, in 2018, a first class in artificial intelligence from Atlantic International university in Mundi, India in 2019 and a first class in law from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, graduating class of 2020.

He also describes himself as a maverick who dares to be different. Upon learning of the arrest of his brother, father Ghesu Patrick Tony Armon wrote a nonplussed note yet again, and I quote:

“….my kid brother sucked the same breast milk I sucked. he is stronger than I am and we are in this together. Let them kill him for all I care, I won’t come to calabar”.

It has also been revealed that this priest has been under suspension from his parish for other matters completely unrelated to his insurrection against the Governor and the State.

To all who read and write, this is the whole truth about the arrest of a Catholic priest saga for which emergency authors have come out of the woodwork to formulate strange theories and theorems about the Governor who is also a knight of the Catholic church.

I have tried to tell the story in plain diction, without slovenly phrases, without borrowed zeal, or formulated piety so that all who read it can make meaning out of it.

So much injustice has been done to the Governor by those who knowing nothing about what truly happened rushed to Facebook and WhatsApp Platforms to vent pre – existing animosities and stir up old rancours. No wonder William Shakespeare wrote that ” men may construe things after their fashion, clean from the purpose of the things themselves “.

Governor Ayade deserves plaudits and commendation for not allowing the security agencies take Father Armon to Abuja, by pleading with them that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Let truth prevail in the affairs of men, and justice attend unto our every deed. Let the wicked be destined to stew in their own juice and the upright immune from the plans of evil men.

Dominic Kidzu is the Special Adviser to the Governor on Information.

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