As promised, the nine-metre, 40 tonnes statue of Jesus Christ carved from white marble and thought to be the biggest in Africa was unveiled on new year’s day.
More than 100 priests and tons of Catholic worshippers gathered to witness the statue’s official unveiling in the village of Abajah in southeastern Nigeria.
It was commissioned by Obinna Onuoha, a local businessman who hired a Chinese company to carve it and had it placed in the grounds of a 2000-capacity church that he earlier built in 2012.
In his homily at a Mass before unveiling the statue, presiding bishop Augustine Tochukwu Okwuoma said it would be a “very great symbol of faith” for Catholic worshippers and passers-by alike.
“It will remind them of the importance of Jesus Christ,” said Okwuoma.
The 43-year-old boss of an oil and gas distribution company timed the statue’s unveiling to coincide with his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
We think religions can exist side by side. We hope that people can live in harmony.
He said the idea of building a giant statue of Jesus came to him in a dream nearly 20 years ago.
And when his 68-year-old mother fell seriously ill a few years ago, she made him promise that he would build a church if she survived.