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» » POLICE ARRESTS FOUR CATHOLIC PRIESTS IN MBAISE
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The Imo State Police Command has arrested four Catholic priests and 8  others for purportedly organizing the protest that led to the shooting  of the Ahiazu Mbaise Divisional Police Officer, Danjuma Ragga. Ragga, a Chief Superintendent of Police was said to have been shot on  two legs and hands by the furious Diocesan youth.

In a release made available to newsmen by the Police Public Relations  Officer, DSP. Andrew Enwerem, stressed that the Vicar- General of the  Diocese, Reverend Father Clement Ebii hosted the National President of the Catholic Women Organization at St. Rose Catholic Church Ezihinittee Mbaise.

The DPO on gathering information that , the youths who gathered at the Mater Ecclesiae Catholic Cathedral in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA insisted on proceeding  to the Ezinihitte Parish to stop the hosting  of the CWO National President, mobilized his men with the aim of maintaining  peace and order within the vicinity.

It was gathered that while going, the youths set up bon fires, barricaded the highway and disrupted the peace of the town.

To restore relative peace in the area, Ragga drafted a team of policemen from the Division to advice the youths to sheathe their sword  and embrace peace since the matter was being looked into by the Catholic hierarchy.

It was gathered that the youths led by Rev. Father John Ogokwe of Christ the King Church Uvuru, Ahiazu Mbaise  defied the appeal of the DPO as they started hauling  missiles at the police , threatening to  burn down police vehicle and disarming  police officers involved in the operation.
“The youths later fired gunshot from inside the Catholic Cathedral,  which hit  the DPO on both legs and hands. Further  attempts to  restore  and arrest the culprits was rebuffed  by the youths, who continued to fire at the police”.

Meanwhile, the State Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu said that the command would not tolerate a situation  where youths or group of persons would  resort to violence to settle differences.

He said, “I assure  all those involved  in the shooting  and wounding  of the DPO will be fished out and prosecuted. I hereby order that the Cathedral should remain under lock and key to avoid further violence”.

It could be recalled that the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara had been in crises  for over  four years following the appointment and consecration of Bishop  Peter Okpaleke as the Bishop of the  Diocese, which  the Mbaise  congregation of the Catholic  Church totally rejected.

In his reaction, one of the reverend fathers in Ahiara Diocese, Rev. Fr. Ben Ogu described the incident as unfortunate and one of the ways invented to intimidate them in submitting to injustice and lack of due  process.

Father Ogu revealed that Awka Diocese has four indigenous bishops who are working within the Awka Diocese, while indicating that the  question is, “how are they getting these Bishops, is it because  Cardinal Francis Arinze is in Rome?”. Highlighting that what they are fighting against is imposition and highhandedness and lack of rule of  law by the Catholic hierarchy.

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