A Catholic priest in Imo State is being investigated by the police in the state over unlawful possession of firearms. The priest, said to be in-charge of one of the prominent Parishes in Dikenafai, Ideato South Local Government area, Imo State, was arrested for allegedly being in possession of three unlicensed guns with which he allegedly threatened the lives of his parishioners.
The guns which include one pump action riffle, one double-barrelled gun and a locally-made pistol allegedly belonging to the priest were recovered from his official residence by operatives of Special Armed Robbery Squad, SARS, Imo State Police Command acting on a tip off from concerned parishioners.
The reverend father was arrested and detained briefly but granted bail by the police following the intervention of some influential religious and political leaders in the state.
The controversy surrounding the catholic priest, according to a police source, stemmed from a tragedy that occurred in January 2010, after the death of a prominent indigene of the area. The resident priest was said to have raised issues over the burial ceremony which inflamed the natives and they had to lodge formal complaints to the Bishop of the area over the way the priest was allegedly calling people names while conducting services.
The source told Vanguard that the matter became worse after armed robbers reportedly attacked the priest in his official residence and he openly accused some prominent citizens of the area of masterminding the robbery.
Following his open accusation, some of them to write a petition to the Commissioner of Police in Imo State, accusing the priest of threatening their lives with dangerous weapons. The Police boss acted on the petition and sent detectives from the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, to the residence of the priest where some weapons were allegedly recovered.
Investigation into the case is ongoing by the police to ascertain the source of the guns found at the residence of the controversial priest, and possibly what they are being used for.