19 February 2018

Nigeria: Pope Appoints Apostolic Administrator for Ahiara-Mbaise Diocese

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Pope Francis

Following the resignation of Most Rev Peter Ebere Okpalaeke as the Bishop of Ahaira-Mbaise Diocese in Imo State, as a result of the crisis that has lingered for nearly six years in that diocese, His Holiness Pope Francis Monday appointed Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, the Bishop of Umuahia as the Apostolic Administrator of Ahaira Diocese.

The appointment, according to a one-paragraph statement signed by Rev. Fr. Chris N Anyanwu, Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja, is with immediate effect.

No details were given on when and where the Anambra State-born Catholic Bishop tendered his resignation bus feelers reaching Vanguard indicate that it may have been a fallout of the ongoing first 2018 plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, Most Rev. Peter Okpalaeke (born March 1, 1963) has resigned his appointment and the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis, has immediately appointed Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, as the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese.

The terse statement by Anyanwu simply said: "Following the resignation of Most Revd Peter Okpalaeke as the Bishop of Ahaira Diocese, as a result of the crisis that has lingered for nearly six years in that diocese, His Holiness, Pope Francis, has today appointed Most Rev Lucius Ugorji, the Bishop of Umuahia, as the Apostolic Administrator of Ahaira Diocese."

Recall that, the Clergy and the Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara-Mbaise in Imo State have vehemently refused to accept Bishop Peter Okpalaeke's appointment as their local ordinary on grounds that he is not of Mbaise extraction.

The priests of Ahiara insisted that one of the priests of the Mbaise origin should be chosen as the bishop of Ahiara.

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