The Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri has explained why its faithful did not join their counterparts nationwide to observe the Prayer-Protest on Tuesday, May 22 in solidarity with victims of Makurdi killings.
The Director of Communications/Media of the Archdiocese, Rev. Fr. Dr. George Nwachukwu said the postponement was sequel to the advice of the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Dasuki Galadinchi.
Police said the church rally coincided with the celebration of the anniversary of a faction of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) known as Biafran Independent Movement (BIM).
Fr. Nwachukwu said in a Press Release that the CP did not want miscreants to take advantage of the Catholic Prayer-Protest to disturb the peace of the state.
The Ralph Uwazuruike faction of MASSOB known as BIM said it was celebrating the 18th anniversary of the hoisting of Biafran flag in the South-East which they refer to as Biafra Day. However, another faction of MASSOB led by one Uchenna Madu insists that Biafra Day is on May 30.
Meanwhile, the programme for the Prayer-Protest which now takes place on Tuesday, June 5 remains as originally scheduled.
According to the programme released earlier, Rosary procession begins at 8am from the Villa Mariae, along Wetheral Road, passing through Government House Roundabout through Maria Assumpta Avenue to Maria Assumpta Cathedral where the procession will be concluded with Holy Mass at 12 noon.
It should be recalled that the Archdiocese postponed the May 22 procession late Monday, May 21 after all the arrangements had been concluded. The procession was designed to coincide with the burial of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers killed in Makurdi Diocese by Fulani terrorists.
A terse text message sent in the evening of May 21, by Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri read: “Due to security concerns in Owerri, I postpone the Catholic Prayer Protest originally planned for tomorrow, Tuesday, 22 May 2018. The new date is Tuesday 5 June 2018. All inconveniences are regretted. Kindly spread the message. God bless you.”