Wednesday, 4th October 2023

Enugu court remands 52 pro-Biafra agitators in prison

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
01 June 2023   |   11:42 pm
Fifty-Two members of the Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF) led by Benjamin Onwuka, who were arrested in Enugu on May 30, have been remanded in Enugu prison.

[file] Leader of the Biafra Zionists, Benjamin Onwuka

• No more sit-at-home in Enugu, Mbah declares • Begs Tinubu to release Kanu

Fifty-Two members of the Biafra Zionist Federation (BZF) led by Benjamin Onwuka, who were arrested in Enugu on May 30, have been remanded in Enugu prison.

They were allegedly arrested during a procession to hoist Biafra flag inside the Enugu Government House, as part of activities marking the 59th anniversary of declaration of the defunct Republic of Biafra.

The Guardian gathered that the pro-Biafra agitators had concluded procession near the Michael Okpara Square, and were marching to the Government House when they were arrested.

They were arraigned at the Enugu Magistrate Court, yesterday, and subsequently remanded in prison, alongside their leader, Onwuka. Recall that on Tuesday, a sit-at-home was declared in the South East by the pro-Biafra agitators in remembrance of Biafra declaration, a development that forced businesses, schools, markets and offices to close in Enugu and other states in the region.

It was learnt that BZF members, who began their march from a location at Independence Layout, Enugu, were already rounding off when the police swooped on them.

A source stated that the agitators displayed Biafran flags, those of Israel and the United States of America (USA) when they were arrested. This is the third time in recent years that the Ben Onwuka-led BZF had attempted to gain access into the Enugu Government House, failing on each occasion.

They had also, in the past, tried to seize the Enugu Broadcasting Service, but were stopped by the police. One of their members was shot dead in the process.

MEANWHILE, the governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has abolished the observance of sit-at-home in the state effective from Monday, June 6, saying such orders were restricting creativity, entrepreneurship, and productivity in the state.

He, however, expressed government’s readiness “to dialogue with people who have genuine grievances towards bringing lasting peace and security to the state.”

He also called on President Bola Tinubu to release detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to quicken the much-needed healing process in Nigeria.

Mbah made the declaration while highlighting decisions reached at the end of his first security council meeting with heads of security agencies at the Government House, Enugu, yesterday.

At the meeting, which also had the Deputy Governor, Ifeanyi Ossai, in attendance, the governor reminded the people of Enugu that he had hit the ground running from the day of his inauguration by signing three executive orders for good governance of the state, including Executive Order 002 for the removal of unauthorised street barriers across the state within 100 days.

He said: “The creativity and sense of industry of Ndi Igbo are remarkable. Our DNA is wired with commercial and entrepreneurial prowess.

“If this is the case, then it becomes inconsistent with reality that the spirit of entrepreneurship, commerce and creativity are killed every Monday in our land. Our restless spirit of industry abhors laxity and indolence.”

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