The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Ahiara, Most Revd Peter Okpalaeke, has resigned his appointment.
Pope Francis has immediately appointed Most Revd Lucius Ugorji, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, as the Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese.
The Director of Social Communications, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Revd Fr Chris Anyanwu, disclosed this in a statement released on the sideline of the ongoing first 2018 plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria.
He 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.
“The appointment of Ugorji is with immediate effect.”
When Okpalaeke was appointed as Bishop of Ahiara Diocese, the clergy and laity of the diocese rejected him on the 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.
Following the development, the Pope had in July, 2013, appointed the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, to oversee Ahiara as its Apostolic Administrator, but the crisis lingered.