Smash News: Imo Police command arrest four priests, shuts down cathedral over DPO’s shooting

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The Imo state police command have arrested one
Rev. Fr. John Ogoekwe of the CKC, Uvuru, Aboh
Mbaise and three other priests and also shut
down the Catholic cathedral in Ahiara, Mbaise,
Imo State, following a violent protest allegedly led
by the arrested priests.
The protest which took place last Saturday July
2nd, saw a Divisional Police Officer (DPO), of
Ahiazu division, Danjuma Ragga Ben shot on the
leg and hand. The priest and some of his
members were protesting over who should be
made the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of the
area.
Peace had eluded the diocese for about three
years now since Pope Francis appointed Bishop
Peter Opkaleke from Anambra state as the bishop
of the diocese. The priests in the area and their
members had protested Okpaleke’s appointment,
insisting that a priest from their state should be
appointed into such leadership position. To
resolve the impasse, a Vicar General, Rev. Fr.
Clement Ebi, was appointed to function in the
diocese as a bishop until the matter is full
resolved.
Trouble started on Saturday July 2nd when the
Vicar General decided to host the Catholic Women
Organization of the diocese at St. Roses Catholic
Church, Ezinihitte. This apparently did not go
down well with some of the youths who came out
in their numbers and barricaded the streets and
Cathedral, setting fire and carrying leaves and
placards. During the protest, the DPO was shot in
the leg and hand.
A statement by the spokesperson of the state
police command, Andrew Enwerem, said twelve
people have so far been arrested in connection
with the protest.
“Twelve suspects, including four Rev. Fathers,
were eventually arrested and are been
interrogated. All those involved in the shooting
of the DPO will be fished out and prosecuted.
The Commissioner of police has therefore,
ordered the Cathedral to remain under lock and
key to avoid further violence.”

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