Police warn Biafra groups, arrest IPOB members in Rivers State
• Urge residents to ignore sit-at-home-order
The Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Okey Ezeike, has warned that his men would not allow any Biafran group hold the state to ransom in order to effect the sit-at-home directive by the Movement of Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), and the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), in remembrance of the Biafra independence.
A statement yesterday by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Andrew Enwerem, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), urged those who are circulating publications on the order to desist or face the consequences.
He said: ‘’The attention of the Imo State Police Command has been drawn to the statements, claims, publications and posts circulating in the social media by groups who claim to be representing the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra Independence Movement (BIM), directing law abiding citizens and innocent Nigerians to sit at home on May 30, 2017 in remembrance of the struggle for Biafra independence. These publications are not only inciting but represent an unpatriotic and hostile propaganda against the sovereignty of the Nigerian state.’’
With the strong mobilization by pro-Biafra agitators, its organizers said yesterday that the exercise will record a 99 per cent compliance.Checks by The Guardian revealed that outside the peaceful procession held in Imo State by MASSOB and IPOB, members moved into local governments and communities in the zone for the exercise.
Several members of the groups were sighted at venues of yesterday’s Democracy Day celebrations distributing handbills. Leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, enthused that the sit at home “will witness tremendous compliance of people.”
He dismissed stories making the round that her members would clamp down on anybody who tried to do any business or open shops today, stressing that “we are not going to harass anybody who wishes to open her shop or do any business. All we are saying is that, we will be surprise to see shops and businesses open because our people are in serious support of the cause we are pursuing.”
Ezeike warned that the Inspector General of Police, Idris Abubakar Ibrahim, has directed that unpatriotic elements should be dealt with by the security officers.The statement advised citizens to go about their lawful business and not to fall prey to the propaganda and directives of individuals or group of persons whose identity remains largely unknown.
It warned the parents and guardians to handle their children and wards in order not to join the group in destablizing the stateThe commissioner of police urged members of the public to go about their businesses without panicking.
Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, urged members of the public, who “may be threatened or forced to shut down their offices to report to nearby police station.’’
Meanwhile, Police in Rivers State have arrested some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, who were in a meeting in Rumuolumeni community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state.
It was gathered that the incident started on Sunday night when security operatives stormed a venue in the community where IPOB members were gathered for meeting.
According to an eyewitness, the IPOB members had mounted their flags at the meeting in view of its planned sit-at-home action billed for Tuesday before security operatives invaded the area.
The eyewitness disclosed that the IPOB members, who were grieved by the police action, engaged the officers in serious argument which almost led to a fight. When the argument intensified, the police started shooting in the air even as they used teargas to dispatch the meeting.
One of the IPOB members, King Okocha-Okparali, accused the police of molestation, harassment and illegal arrested of their members.When contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the Rivers Stated Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni said, there is an order directing commissioner of police in the states of the federation not to allow such gathering to hold.
Omoni said based on the order that the men of the force would not wait for further directives to dispatch such meeting.Meanwhile, the 82 Division Nigerian Army has denied that no shooting took at the venue or vicinity where the procession took place.
Also, there was no crisis or breakdown of law and order in Aba, Umuahia and in the whole of South Eastern part of Nigeria as to warrant/justify “use of firearms’ as falsely and mischievously alleged by IPOB propagandists.
What is obvious, however, is an increase in the presence of security agencies on routine patrols in different locations in the region, particularly areas that are regarded as real or potential flash points. The aim is to pro actively checkmate possible security breaches in view of sordid/divisive utterances and in some cases blatant actions by secessionist agitators.