The Catholic Church in Nigeria has excommunicated a priest who recently quit the Church.
The Church said it was by the notice stripping the priest of all privileges accruing to a leader of the Church.
Patrick Edet, who served in the Catholic Diocese of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, had announced over a local radio station on August 2 that he was leaving the Catholic Church so he could be 'free to serve God the way he wanted.'
Before he left Catholic Church, Mr. Edet ran a Pentecostal-style fellowship that attracted a huge crowd in the city of Uyo.
He said leaving the Catholic Church now gave him the freedom to manage the fellowship in his own style, without getting into conflict with his former church, adding that being a Catholic priest was like being restricted to "a box."
"You cannot know God beyond that box. You cannot express God beyond that box. And any attempt for you to go beyond that box brings you label.
"The reason I am doing this is that I want to be right with God first. I want to go to heaven when I die," he said.
The Catholic Bishop of Uyo Diocese, John Ayah, in his reaction to the development, issued a general notice to the parishioners on August 12, where he advised Catholics to stay away from Mr. Edet.
"I advise that no Catholic member should approach him to obtain any service or guidance henceforth in the name of the Church," the bishop said, adding that the Church disassociated itself from the activities of Mr. Edet.
"Any Catholic who attends his programme or identifies with him (Mr. Edet) in any way does so at the risk of his or her Catholic faith and membership," he said.
The bishop said following Mr. Edet's resignation, he has stripped him of all his power, rights and privileges as a Catholic priest.
Mr. Ayah said he was forwarding Mr. Edet's resignation letter to Pope Francis for further directives on the matter.
Nigerians mostly on social media had expressed diverse reactions on the resignation with some lauding his confidence while others criticised him as an attention seeker.