Police authorities in Imo State are investigating a Roman Catholic priest (names can not be disclosed for legal reasons) for unlawful possession of firearms.
The priest, who is reportedly in charge of one of the prominent Parishes in Dikenafai, Ideato South Local Government area, Imo State, was arrested for possessing three unlicensed guns, with which he threatened the lives of his parishioners.
According to Crime Guard, the guns included one pump action riffle, one double-barrelled gun and a locally-made pistol. The cache of arms, allegedly belonging to the priest, was recovered by the operatives of the Special Armed Robbery Squad (SARS), Imo State Police Command, at his official residence.
It has been learnt that SARS acted on a tip off from concerned parishioners.
A controversial priest was arrested and detained briefly, but granted bail by the police, following the intervention of some influential religious and political leaders in the state.
Police sources intimated that the controversy surrounding the reverend father 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 had 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.
According to the source, 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.
This, the source continued, made 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 swiftly acted on the petition and sent SARS detectives to the residence of the priest, where some weapons were allegedly recovered.
Meanwhile, investigation into the case is ongoing by the police to ascertain the source of the guns and possibly the actual purposes they are being used for. It is believed that the matter will be charged to court after full police investigation had been concluded.