Pope Francis Accepts Retirement of Nigerian Bishop, Appoints Apostolic Administrator

Bishop John Oke Afareha (left) and Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze (right). Credit: Courtesy Photo

Pope Francis has accepted the retirement of Bishop John Oke Afareha from the pastoral care of Warri Diocese in Nigeria and appointed Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze as Apostolic Administrator of the Nigerian Episcopal See.

In the latest administrative changes published Monday, April 18 by the Holy See Press Office, the Holy Father accepted the retirement of the Bishop Afareha who has been at the helm of the Diocese since March 2010 and appointed the Local Ordinary of Benin City Archdiocese to temporarily administer Warri Diocese. 

Born in Oleh in the Diocese of Warri in March 1947, Bishop Afareha who attained the canonical age of 75 required for the retirement of Catholic Bishops last month was ordained a Priest for Warri Diocese in December 1973.

In March 1997, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Warri and assigned the Titular See of Mina. 

He was ordained a Bishop in May 1997, and installed as Local Ordinary of Warri Diocese in March 2010, succeeding Bishop Richard Anthony Burke who had been transferred to Benin City Archdiocese.


The Diocese of Warri is to be under the temporary leadership of Archbishop Akubeze who has been at the helm of Benin City Archdiocese since April 2011.

Born in August 1956, Archbishop Akubeze was ordained a Priest for Nigeria’s Issele-Uku Diocese in October 1987.

He was ordained Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Uromi in Nigeria in February 2006. He was transferred to the Archdiocese of Benin City in March 2011, and installed the following month.

Archbishop Akubeze who is the immediate former President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) is to temporarily oversee the Diocese of Warri that was erected in March 1964.

The 10,650 Square Kilometer Nigerian Diocese falls under the Metropolitan See of Benin City and has an estimated population of 271,503 Catholics, according to 2020 statistics.

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.