A Catholic priest in Nigeria has defended his controversial remarks asking President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over rising insecurity in the country.

Father Ejike Mbaka also told off a government official who termed his remarks as “ungodly” saying he was only saying the truth.

Yekini Nabena, the deputy national publicity secretary of the ruling party All Progressives Congress (APC) had suggested that the priest should obey and honour the authorities – as Jesus Christ did.

He said there was a “lot to tell” to the church headquarters in Vatican about what the priest was doing.

However the priest dismissed the party official: “If the Pope knows I am speaking against bad governance, he will clap for me. So please, quickly go to Rome,” Nigeria’s newspaper Vanguard quotes Fr Mbaka as saying.

The priest has in the past expressed his support for the president – and Mr Buhari has previously shared a picture of them together at state house in the capital Abuja.

On Friday the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, questioned the priest’s “u-turn”, and alleged that the criticism was because he failed to get contracts from the government.

The spokesman made his claims in a post on Twitter – which the priest has termed as “laughable” and “childish”.