IMO STATE police command has disclosed its intention to prosecute 4 priests of Ahiara Catholic Diocese in Imo State arrested over their alleged involvement in the shooting of the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Ahiazu Mbaise LGA. Also to be prosecuted alongside with the priests are another 8 youths of the diocese arrested in connection with violent protest that led to the shooting of the senior police officer. Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Owerri, the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, of Imo command, DSP Andrew Enwerem, stated that investigation into the attempted murder of the Ahiazu Division police boss by the nabbed suspects has commenced and they would be arraigned on conclusion of investigation. To forestall further breach of the peace in the area, he hinted that the command had ordered for the closure of the Ahiara Cathedral. Enwerem who confirmed the attack soon the DPO, superintendent of Police, Danjuma Ragga by the irate youths said that a group of youths led by Revd. Fr. John Ogo Ekwe had mobilized themselves at the Ahiara Cathedral headquarters from where they stormed St Rose Catholic Parish Ezinihitte Mbaise to disrupt the reception of the National President of Catholic Women Organization by the Vicar- General of the diocese According to him, the wounded police chief was shot on the leg and hand by the Ahiazu protesting Catholic youths when trying to calm the situation. He said that the youths had ignored and rebuffed all appeals by the DPO to shun violence and allow peace to prevail while the hosting of the visitor lasted. The PPRO said that the protesting youths made bonfire on the highway displaying their banners and disrupted free flow of human and vehicular traffic along the Owerri/Umuahia Road and by do doing disturbed the peace of the area. Enwerem who hinted that the DPO is already receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital added that those arrested have been under interrogation at the command headquarters Owerri and would be prosecuted at the law court The Nigerian Pilot reliably gleaned that the protest by the priests and youths was not unconnected with the blunt refusal of a section of the Mbaise Catholic faithful and their cohorts to accept the appointment of a non indigene of the area as Bishop of the Ahiara Catholic Diocese. Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, CP Taiwo Lakanu has warned that the command will not tolerate the use of violence as a means of settling whatever differences.

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