Blood Will Flow In Imo—Catholic Priest Warns

Following the heavy fights that broke out between three pro- and anti- Bishop Okalaeke priests in St. Brigid’s Catholic Parish, Nnarambia, Mbaise in the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara Mbaise in Imo State, one of the priests involved in the fracas and parish priest of the parish, Rev. Fr. Marcelinus Nweke has warned of an impending blood bath if the pro- Okpalaeke priests do not stop imposing themselves on others.
The priests— Rev. Fr. Januarius Chima Ahaneku (pro- Bishop Okpalaeke), and Rev. Fr. Marcelinus Nweke and his assistant, Rev. Fr. Chamberline Irozuru(anti-Bishop Okalaeke)— according to reports, had practically soaked themselves in their own blood and vandalizing several properties of the parish penultimate Thursdaynight when Fr. Ahaneku, posted to the parish, came to take over, but the out-going priests, Frs. Nweke and Irozuru, resisted him.
In the ensuing melee, the two groups, who were reportedly with dozens of thugs, descended on each other and suddenly, arms and ammunitions flew from nowhere and they were severely brutalized while Fr. Ahaneku and his boys were arrested by the police.
But, in his reactions published in the diocesan newspaper, The Guide, last Sunday, one of the priests involved in the fight, and parish priest of St. Brigid’s Parish, Fr. Nweke accused the Vicar- General of the diocese, Rev. Fr. Clement Ebii of being behind the simmering crisis by posting a priest to take over from him without a due process and earlier information.
He called on the vicar-general to listen to the voice of reason before it was too late.
“If you refuse to listen to this last voice of God, you will live to regret the blood that will flow out of the spiral of violence hanging in the clouds!”, Fr. Nweke was quoted as saying as addressing the vicar general.
The priest called on the pro-Okpalaeke priests to renounce their stance now if not, none of them especially Fr. Ahaneku would be accepted in any Catholic parish in Mbaise, adding that “a part can never be greater than a whole”.
He insisted that the anti-Bishop Okpalaeke priests were fighting a just cause because according to him, “a church that works against the legitimate aspiration of its people is nearing its spiritual death”. learnt that the reason for the fight between the priests was because of the suspicion the majority of the anti- Bishop Okpalaeke had that the few pro- Okpalaeke priests, who had been put in charge of the diocese by the Apostolic Administrator, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, were planning ways of installing the impeded bishop and that one of the ways with which to achieve their plan, it was learnt, was the posting of the pro-Okpalaeke priests to rich parishes like St. Brigid’s.
It will be recalled that last July, more than 200 priests from the diocese trooped out to protest the appointment of Rev. Fr. Clement Ebii (who they described as pro-Okpalaeke priest) as the Vicar General of the Diocese by the Apostolic Administrator, John Cardinal Onaiyekan.
The priests also sponsored the Catholic Women Organisation to embark on another round of demonstration to force Cardinal Onaiyekan to withdraw that appointment, saying the appointment of Fr. Ebii was part of the “desperate attempts of Cardinal Onaiyekan to further cause the internal crisis in the diocese”.
The appointment of Fr. Ebii as Vicar- General followed the resignation of Rev. Fr. Professor Louis Asiegbu last April, whose advice that the pro-Bishop Okpalaeke priests should not be given viable parishes(as part of their punishment), was ignored by Cardinal Onaiyekan, who instead, posted one of the priests, Fr. Chima Ahaneku to St. Patrick’s Parish Umuokrika Ekwereazu.
While some of the protesting priests, who demonstrated at the Mater Ecclesiae Cathedral, Ahiara Mbaise, accused Onaiyekan of trying to use the appointment of Fr. Ebii to bring back the “rejected” Bishop Okpalaeke, others accused Fr. Ebii of scheming to become the new bishop of the diocese.
It would be recalled that Rt. Rev. Peter Okpalaeke was ordained bishop in 2012 and was posted to the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara. But the majority of the priests and the laity from the diocese rejected his posting saying he is not an indigene of Mbaise.
The priests cited marginalization as their reason, adding that Ahiara Diocese had over 1000 indigenous priests, most of who, they said, were more qualified to be bishops.


  1. This your report is completely inaccurate and irresponsible. It is false. If you are aware of the dynamics of this problem, you will understand that nobody is taking orders from both Onaiyekan and Ebii because these are two evil men in this crisis. So, the resident priests had no reason to vandalize the property of the Parish because Ahaneku was posted there. As a matter of fact, the posting done by Ebii has no rooting in the laws of the Church.
    The thing is that these useless people promoting the installation of a rejected and heartless “Bishop” can continue to use unprofessional news media like you to run some propaganda like this one but the fact remains that this matter is in the Court now and facts of this matter will be legally passed through the laws of evidence. For me, whose ever started this fracas should pay for it. If Ahaneku went there to shake down the priests in his characteristic way, himself and his boy should face the music in real time.

    • Chike Ndukwu, your deployment of pejoratives in describing Onaiyekan, Ebii is but an extension of the violent conflict to the online media domain. Your angry reaction confirms the veracity of the report as regards recourse to violence, particular details notwithstanding. It was only a matter of time before internal anger manifested itself in external violence.

  2. So sad how men of God desecrate
    their commission in unholy manner with plethora of ignorant and gullible followers who has sworn to die for a cause many of them know nothing about other
    than clandestine affiliations.

  3. This pro Bishop Okpaleke and anti Bishop Okpaleke show of shame should stop. These brazen acts of disobedience to the constituted hierarchy of the catholic church have gone on for too long now. For goodness sake, for whom is this fight? Is it for God or for our personal ego? Are you priests who engage in this fight to finish ordained to serve God or to fight for your selfish interests? Where is the image of God in all these rancour and blood lettings? Where do you people place the Holy Spirit in this unholy fight? Is God no longer capable of judging those He placed in positions of authority? Must we take the law into our own hands. Yes we have the right to complain and even protest against perceive injustice. However, should enough not be enough? Why can’t we let go and let God be the final arbiter in this case? As catholics, what really is our ‘faith’? What do we really ‘profess’?

    I am really ashamed.

  4. Whosoever wrote this report is idiotic and myopic. He should try and retrace his steps back from this perditious journey, and then start to practice investigative journalism. Reporters must try to do their home work very well in order not to dish out gibberish and poison to the public.

    • Why not point out the errors in the report instead of cursing the reporter? Do you thing that your angry reaction adds anything positive to the discourse?

  5. I pray for the people and the Church of Ahiara Mbaise. May God save you all from these evil rubbish. Really washing your dirty linen in the public.

  6. Iam a catholic and an ex-seminarian for that matter.The controversy of indigenous bishop for Ahiara Diocese has raged on for too long.The protesters have my sympathy because what is good for the goose is good for the gander but I think that they are taking this matter too far.When priests of God engage in pugilism and bloodshed then there is more to it than meets the eye.Priests take the vow of obedience,they should not throw this vow to the dogs for personal interests.As catholics it is high time we should leave this matter to God and give peace a chance.No bishop rules for ever.Jesus Christ is the Prince Of Peace.Peace therefore should prevail in this matter.We should not go to war because we want an indigenous bishop.If people lose their lives in such a war then we are breaking the law of God for whom we are fighting.Thou shall not kill is an important commandment of God.So my brothers in Christ let us bury our hatchets and teach our followers by example.All authorities as the saying goes come from God.Any organized disobedience to a constituted authority is not a good way to lead any congregation.Let us put all this into prayers so that the will of God will prevail at the end of the day.

  7. In the first place, I am a Catholic, born a Catholic, and will die a Catholic. I know my Religion, Catholic teachings. I know about the war Henry the eight waged with Rome, before he started his own Anglican Church often called the Church of England.
    I know that our Catholic Priests take vows during their ordination, Obedience is one of them. It looks like the rebel priests want to get out of priesthood. They can bow out silently, they will not be the first group. Luther did it. The church moved on. Many more are doing it these days, yet the Church moves on.
    My dear rebel Priests, make up your minds to stay or get out. Who are you to challenge the church that you willingly choose to serve? The New Bishop will not be there for ever, sooner or later he will be sent somewhere else.


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