From NOAH EBIJE, Kaduna
Parishioners at Queen of Apostles Catholic
Church, Kakuri parish, Kaduna State, are
still in shock following revelation that the
parish priest, Very Reverend Father Peter
Zuni, 54, was engaged in a secret marriage
to two women, an act that led to his being
disrobed and sacked from the priesthood.
Sunday Sun gathered that one of the wives
is already late, while the surviving one who
blew the whistle about three weeks ago over
the secret marriage is said to be nursing a
child for the embattled priest.
According to the doctrine of the Catholic
Church, only unmarried men are ordained
into the priesthood as they are obligated to
swear to an oath of celibacy and observe
perfect and perpetual service for the sake of
the kingdom of heaven. This, it is believed,
would enable the priests to easily remain
close to Christ with an undivided heart, and
dedicate themselves more freely to the
service of God and the congregation.
When Sunday Sun visited the premises of
the Queen of the Apostles parish, some
parishioners confirmed the report, which
they said was initially thought to be mere
The parishioners who spoke on condition of
anonymity said they were shocked and
surprised to learn of a petition to the Bishop
of Kaduna Archdiocese, Bishop Ndagoso
Manoso, that two women had children for
their parish priest, an act considered to be
an abomination and grave sin against the
Catholic doctrine.
They pointed out that in order to cover up
the priest’s ‘sin’ from spreading to the larger
public, the Archdiocese allegedly organised
a send off for the embattled priest to a
remote village in Jaba Local Government
Area of Kaduna State.
“During the send off, the priest was not
allowed to make a farewell speech, and
many people refused to take photographs
with him. There was little or no felicitation
with him because most of the time he was
seen standing aloof under a mango tree
without anybody going close to him.
“Nobody can say when the priest committed
the alleged sinful act. If it happened before
his ordination, he wouldn’t have been
ordained, so probably it was after his
ordination, and you know, God does not
sleep, no matter the length of cover up, one
day the bubble will burst. And the bubble
has burst now,” the parishioner said.
However, when Sunday Sun contacted the
disrobed priest on his telephone line, and
sought comments on his alleged
controversial transfer from the city to a
remote village, he said: “Nobody is ordained
to remain and work in the city. I have spent
five years as parish priest of Queen of
Apostles, so I can work anywhere, city or
On the allegation of his involvement in secret
marriage to two women who bore children
for him even as a Catholic priest, he neither
denied nor confirmed the allegation. Rather
he said: “I find it difficult myself to believe
what people are saying about me. I will not
comment on it now. I will follow due
process to invite you for an interview, but I
am afraid, the newspaper of the
archdiocese, The Cross News, may carry
this story before you (Sunday Sun).”
Rev Fr. Zuni further said he is currently
based in Suleja, Niger State. But Sunday
Sun gathered that parishioners were made
to believe that the embattled priest was
transferred to Gumel village in southern
Kaduna, while he was actually sacked from
the priesthood.
Unfortunately, parishioners lamented that
the controversial priest’s first name, Peter,
reminded them of the biblical Peter who
denied Jesus three times before the cock
Archbishop in tears
When contacted, the Archbishop of Kaduna
Catholic Diocese, Bishop Ndagoso Manoso
also confirmed the report to Sunday Sun in
his office along Tafawa Balewa Way,
Bishop Manoso who was almost in tears
when he spoke on the matter, said Father
Zuni actually committed the sin. He said
that what the priest did, brought a sad
moment and embarrassment to the entire
The embattled priest was his classmate in
the seminary more than 30 years ago.
Bishop Manoso said that he could imagine
the spiritual and psychological torture the
priest could be going through over this sinful
The Archbishop also expressed worry over
the health condition of the disrobed priest
who is known to be diabetic and dependent
on daily injection of insulin.
On how the bubble burst over the secret
matrimonial relationship, Bishop Manoso
said the woman at the centre of the storm
confronted him with a baby said to belong
to Father Zuni, and after due investigation
by his office, it was confirmed that the priest
was her secret husband.
Bishop Manoso said, “It is very unfortunate
that this thing had to happen in my diocese.
It is not an easy thing for me; if I tell you
what I have been going through in the past
few weeks over this issue; it has not been
easy for me. Father Zuni was my
classmate; we spent seven years in the
seminary. At a time he proceeded to Kaduna
Polytechnic and read Accounting.
“But this thing happened and nobody knew.
But he has to face the sanction. We sacked
and disrobed him because what he did is no
longer compatible with his vocation as a
priest. It was not true that he was
transferred to any village.  He was about to
be transferred on normal routine, but when I
heard of this story, I had to cancel the
transfer and sacked him.
“It is true that he had affairs with two
women and they both had children for him,
but one of the women is late already. We
are not God, we did not know on time until
now that he was having affairs with two
He spoke further: “The church said the priest
has to go because the church doesn’t allow
priests to marry. So he had to go and look
after his children and his matrimonial home.
“You can now imagine what the priest is
going through, either spiritually or
psychologically. He must be going through
hell on earth. This is my concern for him
now. The woman and the kids will be going
through trauma also.
“I have been trying to see how I can help
him, but I don’t think I have the skills to help
him. But he needs help to come to terms
with reality.
“By December he will be 30 years in the
priesthood, and he is now 54 years old, so
at this age what can he do with his life.
Nobody can employ him now. He spent
seven years in the seminary and 30 years in
the priesthood, and that is 37 years, so what
can he do with his life at 54? The church too
is going through a lot of trauma, so we need
everybody’s prayers for us to put this
incident behind us.”
Celibacy outdated
Meanwhile the decision of the Catholic
Church to disrobed and sack the priest has
stirred reaction from a non-Catholic, Dr
David Ehimhen, an optometrist and
Pentecostal Christian, who said that the
practice of celibacy which was compelled on
individuals seeking to become ordained
priests in the Catholic Church has clearly
become outdated as it had always been
contrary to the bible right from inception. He
said that early in the Church Age, Catholic
priests were free to marry and have children,
but later popes now imposed celibacy on
priests. Over the last 60 years or more,
many priests have fallen foul of the rule of
celibacy by having secret wives and
children. His words: “Well, right from time,
we have always had people that were either
in support or against Catholic priests
marrying. They have their reasons. Some
believe that the person would fully
concentrate on the work of God; that is why
they say that if you are a priest you should
consecrate your life to serving God because
they see marriage as a kind of distraction. I
don’t think that I am competent to make an
official statement that the doctrine of the
Catholic Church is right or wrong. But
personally speaking I don’t believe that
celibacy is right. That is one of the reasons
why I am not a Catholic. The bible does not
say that if you are married you cannot serve
God to the best of your ability or you must
remain unmarried to be able to serve God
well. When you give room to such things,
that is why some people may be burning
with desire and yet they say they are priests
or that they are reverend sisters and yet they
are burning with desire. That on its own is a
sin. Why not just be yourself? If you are a
Catholic, and want to remain one and you
have the grace to remain unmarried, you
can go on and become a priest, but if you
don’t have the grace, it is better you stop
deceiving yourself because such people will
not make heaven because they are living a
double life. And that is why Apostle Paul
also said that people who cannot be celibate
but burn with desire should marry.”

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