The Holy Father Pope Francis, on Wednesday, appointed Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, as apostolic administrator ad nutum Sanctae Sedis of the diocese of Ahiara, Nigeria, the Vatican Information Service (VIS) reports.
The Appointment of Onaiyekan brings to an end months of protest over the appointment of Bishop Peter Okpaleke by emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, in December, 2012.
It would be recalled that when news of Bishop Okpaleke was made known to the people, both the clergy and the laity took to the streets of Mbaise in protest against the decision of Pope Benedict XVI who was then Pope, thus making it impossible for his installation as the bishop of the diocese.
The battle against Bishop Okpaleke’s appointment began on 7th December 2012 last year when Opkaleke who hails from Awka Diocese in Anambra State was pronounced bishop-elect of Ahiara Diocese by the former Pope.
The Diocese of Ahiara was created in November 1987and inaugurated on January 31, 1988 as a local diocese. It belongs to Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Imo State, Nigeria, West Africa and is situated in the heart of Igboland in the forest belt of Southern Nigeria. It covers an area of 425 square kilometers. Ahiara Diocese is the most compact and densely populated rural Diocese in Africa. Though, the area is not yet developed into a city, Ahiara Diocese is blessed with several human resources who are noted for their hard work, determination to survive, resourcefulness, divine pioneering spirit and hospitality.