Imo: Ahiara: Bishop Okpalaeke barred from assuming duty

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The embattled newly consecrated Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise, in Ahiazu Council Area of Imo State, the Bishop Peter Ebere Okpalaeke, is yet to gain entrance to the diocesan cathedral as the priests and laity of the diocese yesterday prevented him from celebrating his maiden mass at the cathedral.

The cathedral of the diocese, which had been under lock and key since Monsignor Okpalaeke was appointed as the new bishop of diocese by both the priests and laity in protest of his choice still remained deserted when the Daily Sun visited the premises yesterday.

Daily Sun reliably gathered that the priests and the laity of Ahiara Diocese, shortly after the consecration of Okpalaeke held last week at the Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Ulakwo, Owerri North Council Area, vowed not to allow the new bishop to resume his episcopal duties, since he was not the choice of the people but an imposition from Vatican city.

The President of the Diocesan Priests, Rev. Father Austine Ekechukwu, who confirmed the development made it clear that the diocese, which is a stronghold of the Roman Catholic Church in the country would not tolerate Okpalaeke as a bishop despite intimidation from any quarters.

Father Ekechukwu made it clear that the incumbent administrator of the diocese, Monsignor Theophilus Nwalor, would continue to pilot the affairs of the diocese until the injustice meted to the people was rectified.

He disclosed that Dr. Okpalaeke had since left the Owerri diocese for a reception by his people at Awka, Anambra State and would remain there until those who allegedly consecrated him as a bishop decide what to do with him.

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

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