Four Priests Arrested, Cathedral Shut Down Over the Shooting of DPO in Imo State State
The Catholic cathedral in Ahiara, Mbaise has been shut down and Rev. Fr John Ogoekwe of the Christ the King Chapel, Uvuru, Aboh Mbaise alongside three other priests have been arrested by the Imo Police Command due to a violent demonstration allegedly led by the arrested priests.
The protest which occurred on Saturday, 2nd July had Danjuma Ragga Ben, the Divisional Police Officer of Ahiazu division shot on his hand and leg. According to reports, the priest and a few of his members embarked on a protest over who should assume the position of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of the area.
For about three years ever since Bishop Peter Okpaleke from Anambra state was given the appointment as the bishop of the diocese by Pope Francis, the diocese had known no peace. To the effect, the priests and members in the area held a protest against the appointment of Okpaleke demanding that the appointment into a position of leadership be given to a priest from their state.
In a bid to resolve the stalemate, Rev. Fr. Clement Ebi, a Vicar General was appointed to perform the function of a Bishop in the diocese pending when the issue is resolved fully.
On Saturday, July 2nd, trouble crept into the diocese when the Vicar General hosted the Catholic Women Organization of the diocese at St. Roses Catholic Church, Ezinihitte. Obviously, the decision of the Vicar General went parallel to what the youths liked. So, they trooped in their numbers, blocked the cathedral and streets, set up fire and carried placards to express their utmost disapproval. Unfortunately in the course of the protest, the DPO was shot right in his hand and leg.
In accordance with the statement released by Andrew Enwerem, the spokesperson of the state police, twelve persons connected with the protest have been arrested.