Pope Francis on Thursday inaugurated the Diocese of Ekwulobia in Anambra State and appointed Most Rev. Peter Okpaleke as its bishop.
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, announced the development at the St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, Anambra State, on Thursday.
Okpaleke was some years back appointed the bishop of Ahiara Diocese in Imo State, but was rejected by the people of the area because he was not an indigene of the place.
But on Thursday, Pope Francis elected him as the bishop of the newly-created Ekwulobia Diocese in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Ezeokafor, described the development as pleasant.
He said, “We have written letters in the past asking the Vatican City to give us two more dioceses, Ekwulobia and Adazi. They were turned down. They asked us to instead apply for an auxiliary bishop which we did and Bishop Jonas Benson was appointed as an auxiliary bishop in 2014.
“We continued to push because in Awka Diocese we have the highest number of priests and Awka is too big for one person to handle even with an auxiliary bishop.
“We are glad for this great news. We thanked Pope Francis for this appointment, it is a great relief.”
Okpalaeke was ordained to the priesthood on August 22, 1990. On December 7, 2012, Okpalaeke was appointed bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ahiara.