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Biafra: The Igbo Need IPOB For Several Reasons – Prof Nwala |RN

Prof.Uzodimma-Nwala

President of Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), Prof Uzodinma Nwala has said that it is in the interest of Ndigbo to have Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) de-proscribed and declassified as a terrorist organisation.

According to him, Ndigbo will be able to integrate IPOB and other pro-Biafra organisations as instruments of development and freedom, add￾ing that the Yoruba nation has been able to do this successfully with the OPC.

In an interview with VINCENT KALU, Prof. Nwala expressed regrets that the federation is driven by a particular ideological mould, which treats aberrations as normal in the conduct of the affairs of the society.

Nigeria is on edge; it has turned to a killing field; kidnapping and other violent crimes everywhere. Why?

The Nigerian Federation is driven by a particular ideological mould, which treats these aberrations as normal in the conduct of the affairs of the society.

How do we come out of these problems?

We must alter the power configuration in the Nigerian Federation. First, we must return power to the original nationalities that were brought together by the British outside their consent. Second, we must ensure that the decision as to whether Nigeria remains a political entity is made according to the principle of self-determination, without any compulsion.

How can IPOB be de-proscribed?

Ndigbo should apply all possible political pressures to get IPOB de-proscribed. The state governments in the Igbo-speaking areas should take action and demand the de-proscription of IPOB; the Federal legislators from Alaigbo should lobby their colleagues to get the National Assembly to pass a resolution de-proscribing IPOB (we are aware that they have publicly condemned the de-proscription of IPOB); the
churches, the women and youth should demand for IPOB de-proscription. ADF has already made this call and has further challenged the Operation Python Dance in court as an illegal invasion of Alaigbo.

Igbo have been clamouring to produce the president in 2023. What direction should the Igbo follow in 2019?

The issue of the Presidency of Nigeria should be part of the total package of the process of laying a new foundation for the future of Nigeria. The Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), based on proven general view of Ndigbo, our people are no longer interested in the continuation of a political union in which they are treated like conquered people, daily slaughtered as animals, without political rights and with the foundation of their economic life virtually destroyed, in which there is no equality and justice in the system.

This is why ADF has proposed for the Nigerian Federation to be turned into a Federal Union of Autonomous Regions in which Alaigbo is recognised as an autonomous region, enjoying the fundamental right of self-determination, with full control of their domestic affairs, their security, their land and its resources, and contributing to the maintenance of a Federal Union with powers ceded to it by the various autonomous regions that make up the Federal Union. Anything less than this, Ndigbo shall regard it as enslavement against their will and shall continue to fight for their freedom and total liberation, which we have no doubt shall come in the nick of time. Our God has not created us to be slaves to other people.

President Buhari recently said that Nigerian soldiers during the war were soft on Biafra, even in the face of the bombing of markets, IDPs and other atrocities committed against the Igbo. What is your reaction to this?

I am aware that some Igbo leaders and organisations have reacted to this show of arrogance and mindless insult by President Buhari on Ndigbo based on the loss of a war that could justifiably be defined as the Third World War. Yes, the Nigeria-Biafra war was a world war involving a coalition of major powers against Biafra. Indeed, that defeat was made possible by several world powers against Ndigbo. The soldiers who fought on the Nigerian side were aware of this fact.

What Buhari is actually saying is that Ndigbo were lucky that they were not completely wiped out by the Nigerian troops and their allies. One would ask, Odi Ofele. I do not think it is the mark of a self-confident soldier to revel in a victory won for his side by a foreign army.

I had on another occasion responded to a claim that appears similar to Buhari’s statement; this one by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, a frontline commander during the war. According to him, they (the Federal military leaders) conducted the war without any hate or vengeance because it was a quarrel between brothers.

To that statement, I asked a few pertinent questions, which I now pose to General Buhari, namely: How did the world come to describe the conduct of the war as pogrom? Secondly, what about the bombing of refugee camps, marketplaces, churches, etc? Thirdly, when you allowed the massacre of unarmed soldiers and leaders even when they had declared their return to Nigeria, what did you expect? I mean when you murdered Prof. Kalu Ezera or when you killed unarmed Col Onwuatuegwu in cold blood, what did you expect? Fourthly, when you killed and also buried alive thousands of innocent civilians in Asaba, was that a circus show? Fifthly, let us not get into the punitive measures meted to Ndigbo immediately after that war and until this day.

What is your fear for the country?

I answer this by quoting from the recent memorandum of the Alaigbo Development
Foundation (ADF) on the future of Alaigbo and the future of the Federal Republic of Nige￾ria, popularly addressed by many as the Green Book: Today in Nigeria. The monstrous forces of hegemony are on the rampage in fulfilment of the founder’s behest. The chickens have come home to roost, things have fallen apart and the artificial centre can no longer hold.

The forces of ethnic and religious cleansing have been let loose-blood is flowing in the land! All the victims of this hegemony are now astir, and the songs of freedom are now raging all over the artificial federation!

The only way out is for the autonomy of the various nations trapped in the Nigerian Federation to be restored.

Once this is done, they shall be free to decide if they want to live together and in what form of a union they wish to live together as free people, but not as conquered people or as annexed territories.

You talked about what to do to de-proscribe IPOB, why do you want it de-proscribed?

When I address certain sensitive issues, such as the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), MASSOB or any other pre-determination organisations, I try not to project my personal views. I endeavour as much as possible to state the position of the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), a civil society organisation to which I belong along with several eminent statesmen in Alaigbo. As their chief spokesperson, I owe them the duty not to mix my personal views with the views of the ADF.

The issue of IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu was first raised at the ADF Elders Consultative Forum held in Enugu on March 29, 2016. We chose that organ of ADF because it includes mainly the distinguished elders in ADF – Archbishops, bishops, chairmen of State Council of Traditional Rulers and other notable traditional rulers, ex-governors, ex-ministers, past president-general of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, retired generals and high level military officers, ex- and serving vice chancellors, distinguished professors, top-level academicians, top-level business leaders, respected women leaders, media chiefs, youth leaders, etc. we felt that such a sensitive issue, required the guidance of such Igbo leaders.

At that meeting, we extensively discussed the on-going global agitations for Biafra under the aegis particularly of the IPOB at the time.

In the end, a communiqué was issued followed later by a press statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of ADF, Col Justino Ezeoke (Retd). In the communiqué, ADF condemned the reaction of the Federal Government of President Muhammadu Buhari to the renewed agitation for Biafra as discriminatory when compared to the attitude of the government to Boko Haram armed separatist insurgency. ADF noted that the Federal Government was known to have sought and indeed negotiated with the Boko Haram insurgency, which has claimed and continued to claim thousands of lives of civilians and security forces and destroyed millions of private and state property.

However, in the case of non-violent pro-Biafra IPOB, MASSOB and other Biafra agitators in Alaigbo, which employ peaceful and non-violent methods of agitation, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is unwilling to negotiate or even to dialogue with them. ADF also had expressed grave disappointment over the discriminatory way the federal government
was handling the case of the detention of Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the IPOB and his colleagues, despite calls for his release by local and foreign governments and organisations and despite the fact that several courts in Nigeria had ordered for his release from detention. We also
noted that in Nigeria, governments and leadership of various zones including political leaders, businessmen, intellectuals, traditional rulers, human rights groups, lawyers, pan-national organizations from within and outside the Southern parts of Nigeria have appealed to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to
release Mr. Kanu, whom, everyone know as an unarmed, non-violent prisoner of conscience.

The unrelenting spread of national and global sympathy for the renewed agitation for Biafra is premised on the fact that the campaign of the Pro-Biafra agitators has been both non-violent and does not violate any known national or international laws, but rather is protected by the fundamental constitutional rights of freedom of
speech and political agitation, guaranteed even by the Nigerian Constitution.

As I have stated earlier, ADF maintains that
IPOB and other Prof-Biafra organisations are
legitimate non-violent agitators for political
equality and freedom. ADF likens the Pro-Biafra agitators in Alaigbo as comparable to the OPC within the Yoruba nation, the Niger Delta militants within the Niger Delta region and the Boko Haram and the murderous movement in Arewa land called Fulani Herdsmen. All those are instruments for political struggle by the various
zones. But there is a big difference between those and the IPOB and its sister Pro-Biafra organisations in Alaigbo. That big difference lies in the non-violent character of the Pro-Biafra groups.

It also lies in the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria has negotiated with the others, but has arrogantly refused to listen to or negotiate with the Pro-Biafra agitators. Rather the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari has treated them with disdain and continues
to have them slaughtered like fowls with such mind-boggling self-abandon.

De-platforming of IPOB, is it in the interest of the Igbo, or is it that Ndigbo wants it?

ADF believes that it is in the interest of
Ndigbo to have IPOB de-proscribed and declassified as a terrorist organisation. One, it is not a terrorist organisation. Two, it is non-violent in its agitations. Three, Ndigbo needs IPOB and other self-determination organisations for their own political struggles for survival and relevance in
the scheme of things in the country.

Employing the methods the Igbo society employs in the handling of the activism of their youth, Ndigbo will be able to integrate IPOB and other pro-Biafra organisations as instruments of development and freedom.

The Yoruba nation has been able to do this successfully with the OPC. Ndigbo can
do so with the youths in search of freedom and equality. (The Sun)

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Why Niger-Delta Citizens Do Not Want To Be Part Of Biafra – Goodluck Jonathan

Jonathan-press-briefing

Former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebere Jonathan yesterday delivered a lecture at Texas US on why remaining indivisible with Nigeria than joining forces with Biafrans in splitting the country will pay Niger Deltans more.

Excerpts

I begin this write-up by saying that I mean no ill-thought towards the Biafran struggle or Igbos in general. What I’ve written here are mainly my personal reflections concerning the Niger Delta, especially with regards to non-Igbo groups and their stake in the Biafran movement which has been rebirthed for some time now. I am not a mouthpiece for the Niger Delta but I believe I’ve been in the Niger Delta long enough to know our problems and our stand. I’ve also interacted with many Niger Deltans to know their stand in the Biafran struggle.

When I use the term Niger Delta, I am referring to the region covering Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states. However, I understand that the region also covers Ondo, Imo, and Abia states. I’m not concerned with the latter because they are either Igbos or Yorubas and have their own struggles. The ethnic groups within my coverage include Urhobo-Isoko, Bini, Esan, Itsekiri, Ijaw-Epie-Ogbia, Ogoni, Afemai, Efik-Annang-Eket-Oron-Ibibio, Ogoja, Ejagham, and other groups in Cross River North. Ikwerre, Ukwuani, Ika, Aniocha, Ogba, and other Igboid groups are not included. Historically, Biafra covered all the Niger Delta states EXCEPT Delta and Ondo states. This fact must be emphasised.

Pro-Biafrans are welcome to debate and address my issues in a civil manner. I understand that most pro-Biafrans resort to insults when salient issues are addressed.

Please let’s set a good precedence from hereon.

  1. Biafra may not be better for Niger Deltans because Niger Deltans may end up living one form of subjugation for another. The argument Igbos have made for their freedom is the desire to be free from Hausa-Yoruba domination. That argument also applies to the average Niger Deltan. Igbo, no doubt, will be the major ethnic group if Biafra is actualised. Ijaws may have a stake due to their numbers. What about the Ogonis, Urhobo-Isokos, Itsekiris, Efiks, etc? Where will they fit in at the national level? The sad reality is that another Nigeria will just be made manifest and resentments will build up. What will really be the fate of minorities? Will they fare better in Biafra or alone? In Nigeria, big groups such as Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo checkmate each other’s excesses very well. Who will checkmate that of Igbos in the new nation?
  2. Where will the capital be located? If we are to follow the notion of central location, the capital of Biafra won’t be Enugu but around Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene axis. Will Igbos allow their capital to be sited in a non-Igbo location? This is a very salient issue because you don’t expect the riverine Niger Deltan in Twon-Brass, for instance, to journey all the way to Enugu to see their President. It has to be a location where ALL BIAFRANS can access easily. Enugu won’t go.

  3. The issue of annexation comes to play. For so long, e-Biafrans have annexed Niger Delta as part of the proposed nation. The map below shows us what Biafrans have drawn to constitute the new nation:?

If we judge from this map, it means all groups in the Niger Delta have been annexed. My question is whether the leaders of these groups have been consulted before the annexation was done. I, for one, know that Urhobo-Isoko and Efik-Ibibio leaders have not approved of Biafra neither has anybody in these regions declared Biafra. So how and why were they included in the proposed map? Little things like this bring distrust and I understand that many of these non-Igbo regions have disowned the map and pledged allegiance to Nigeria. The declaration by the Delta State government is a case in point. I see this as forceful annexation. The so-called e-Biafrans have also not done much in calming the nerves of the people of the annexed regions. I’ve seen comments such as “if you don’t like it, go and stay in Sokoto”, “all land in the South is Biafraland”, etc. Is it not ironic that a group of people who want freedom want to annexe others?

  1. What languages will be made the official languages of the new nation? I have seen several posts by e-Biafrans where Igbo was proposed as the official language of the new republic. What then will happen to other languages such as Urhobo, Isoko, Okpe, Efik, Ibibio, Oron, Ogoni, Eleme, Okrika, Kalabari, Bini, Esan, etc? Will they die off because of Igbo? Certainly NOT! If English is made the official language, the Igbo majority factor will kick in. If your name isn’t Chukwuemeka or Oliseh, Amarachi or Nneka, etc, you won’t get any appointment nor shall you be recognised. These are things we can’t deny. We are very ethnocentric in Africa.
  • What and what have Igbo nation done for Niger Deltans to gain their trust? Every day I see Igbo youths making enemies where there were none. They constantly use the agency of the internet to sprout controversy, hurl insults at dissenters and make unfounded claims. There is this general air of mistrust for Igbos by some Niger Deltans, particularly by Urhobo-Isoko and Bini people. What have Igbos done to checkmate this? Has any Igbo leader or group extended the hand of friendship to the Niger Deltans. Mistrust cannot be wished away. Most Niger Deltans would rather follow Hausas as slaves than follow Igbos as kings. This is the real reality and truthfully, Igbos caused this.

  • Who will lead the new nation? Obviously, Nnamdi Kanu, their hero, has fought tooth and nails for Biafra and he is currently cooling off in jail. If Biafra comes today, who will be the interim leader and what modalities are in place for subsequent leaders to be elected? Igbos have been the only ones fighting for Biafra since time immemorial with a handful of other groups here and there. Will Igbos allow other groups to rule over them? Will they allow an Urhobo man to be President, for instance? This is not a case of mere wishing. We have to understand that Niger Delta groups MAY NEVER BE ALLOWED TO RULE BIAFRA IF IT IS ACTUALISED.

  • Still, on the issue of leaders, are the new leaders going to fall from the skies or they are simply going to change addresses from Abuja to Enugu. If so, what will change in the new nation? It is not arguable that Igbo national leaders are the most corrupt persons in Nigeria. If these same people are the ones to rule the new nation then there is no hope because corruption will be so rife that the economy of the new nation will shut down like a knocked engine. If we argue that new and younger leaders will arise, we still have the issue of who fought for Biafra to contend with. Most pro-Biafrans will not allow someone who sat at the periphery of the struggle to just come and waltz power away from the “heroes” of Biafra. If this is true then we will not have a proper democracy in Biafra.

  • Will Biafra be a utopia? The impression that e-Biafrans give is that Biafra will be perfect and we all know for a fact that this is not true. Apart from the issue of corruption and sentimentalism that have been addressed, we still have the issue of development. Where will money be generated from to develop the nation? In the whole of proposed Biafra, only Port Harcourt and Onitsha are economically viable cities. Where will the investors come from? Why should they invest in a volatile country? Only in Warri, we have Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo at loggerheads, imagine what would happen to the whole nation. Secondly, I am sure that no Niger Deltan will allow his “oil” to be used to develop Enugu like what happened with Abuja, and is still happening today. Niger Deltans are getting wiser and by the time the new nation is formed, matters that border on oil, wealth distribution and infrastructural development will be raised.

  • The current structure of the proposed nation, as shown on the map earlier embedded, favour Igbos with more states. Urhobo has one, Efik-Ibibio has two, Itsekiri has none, etc. How will this be addressed? Certainly, every ethnic nationality will want adequate representation and so the structure on that map will never work.

  • Last, but not the least, is the issue of the referendum. Some Biafrans are already calling for a referendum which will involve all parts of the proposed nation. I am pretty sure how this referendum will turn out. However, for the sake of being hypothetical, let us imagine that some ethnic groups/states vote against Biafra by the majority, what will be their fate at the end of the day? Secondly, will the result of such a referendum be true and honest? I understand that electoral malpractice forms a part of our identity. How are we going to get a true reflection of people’s thoughts? Thirdly, if states and ethnic groups do decide to vote for Biafra, what mechanisms are in place to contain Igbophobia, Igbomania, Igbocentrism, Igbo hegemony, Land grabbing, and all issues that minorities have raised?

  • Above are the reasons why I feel that Niger Deltans will NOT subscribe to the Biafran movement. I have been very practical, philosophical and hypothetical in my approach. I do not speak for any group or persons but I present these issues for the pro-Biafrans to address. Niger Deltans can raise more issues that I have not raised. Finally, it should be noted that I expect insults directed at my person by e-warriors and keyboard mercenaries, as usual, but I won’t pleasure such persons with answers or altercations. If you raise good points, we can discuss like intellectuals.

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    Court Orders DSS To Allow Abaribe Access To His Lawyers |RN

    Enyinnaya-Abaribe1

    Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in court

    Godwin Tsa, Abuja

    A Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, has ordered the Department of State Security (DSS) to allow detained  Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe to have access to his lawyer.

    Justice Binta Nyako made the order following an oral application by Abaribe’s counsel, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN) seeking the intervention of the court to the plight of his client.

    The lawyer drew the attention of the court to the fact that his client who was arrested and detained by the ‎DSS since Friday last week was still being held incommunicado.

    Meanwhile, supporters of the detained senator representing Abia South at the Senate, protested at the premises of the Federal High Court demanding for his unconditional release.

    Although the court said it was not going to entertain the matter since the facts of his arrest and detention are not before it, however, ‎said it was the constitutional right of anybody who is detained to have access to a lawyer of his or her choice.

    Abaribe who had stood surety for the ‘missing’ leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu was, on Tuesday, brought to court by operatives of the DSS in relations to the legal issues arising from Kanu’s bail.

    ‎But in a dramatic twist, one of the surety to Nnamdi Kanu, Tochukwu Uchendu, has filed a motion for an order of the court directing the police to arrest and produce Nnamdi Kanu to court.  (The Sun)

    ‎Details later…

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    Igbo Pressure Group Demands Unconditional Release Of Abaribe

    Enyinnaya-Abaribe

    Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe in court

    Raphael Ede, Enugu

    Igbo pressure group Voice from the East (VEAST) has called on the Federal Government to release Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, describing his arrest as intimidation and undemocratic.

    Senator Abaribe was arrested last Friday by operatives of Directorate of State Security (DSS) on his alleged support for Biafran separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

    According to the group that embarked on a peaceful protest in Enugu over the Senator’s arrest, Abaribe was not responsible for the disappearance of the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu and should not be wasted or killed in detention.

    They carried placards that read: “Release Abaribe”, “Democracy destruction day by Buhari on 31st December 1983”; “Free Abaribe”, “Islam is the Nigeria problem”, “Free Abaribe, kill Fulani herdsmen”, “Free Abaribe, DSS of satanic services”.

    While addressing newsmen, the convener, Comrade Kindness Jonah, said that “we are demonstrating in the streets of Enugu to tell Nigeria Government to release Sen. Abaribe immediately and unconditionally.”

    Jonah warned that his group is ready to ground the government should they decline to release him.

    “If they fail to heed the call, we’ll do everything to clamp down on this nation. This is because Buhari is insensitive to life. We can’t allow him to kill Abaribe,” he fumed, claiming “the way he killed Nnamdi Kanu.”

    He said that Abaribe was about to bring Kanu to court before the military struck and, therefore, Abaribe should not be molested.

    Alleging that “the military went to Nnamdi Kanu’s house, brought him out and killed him before Abaribe would bring him to court,” Jonah declared that “Abaribe is not responsible for the killing of Nnamdi Kanu by the military. He should be released immediately.”

    Jonah posited that they used the demonstration also to show angst against the killing of 150 people in Plateau State by Fulani herdsmen, accusing President Buhari of being the sponsor of Boko Haram as well as the Fulani herdsmen.

    “We use this avenue to clearly say that Buhari is the sponsor of both Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria and let every Nigerian know this assuredly,” he alleged.  (The Sun)

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    Arraign Abaribe or Grant Him Bail, Falana Tells DSS |The Republican News

    enyinnaya

    Senator Enyinnaya  Abaribe

    Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

    Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday asked the Department of State Services to immediately charge the senator representing Abia South Senatorial District, Eyinnaya Abaribe, to court or grant him bail if it has not completed its investigations.

    He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct all security agencies in the country to respect the fundamental rights of every citizen, as he charged the human rights community to be prepared “to halt fascism which has continued to rear its ugly head in the land.”

    Falana, who anchored his demands on the undertaking by the Buhari-led Federal Government to stop impunity and respect the human rights of every person living in Nigeria under the rule of law, noted that the arrest and detention of criminal suspects and law-abiding people without court orders had continued unabated.

    Operatives of the DSS reportedly arrested Eyinnaya and raided his home in the Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja, on Friday.

    But Falana regretted on Sunday that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government had been unable to end impunity which members of the then opposition including Buhari suffered in the hands of the then Peoples Democratic Party-led government.

    He said if the DSS had any evidence of the alleged offences against Abaribe, it should arraign him in court, or grant him bail if it had yet to complete its investigations.

    He said, “The Department of State Services has said that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe is being detained on account of his links with the Indigenous People of Biafra.

    “It is common knowledge that the Senator had stood surety for Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB.”    (Punch)

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    Biafra Day: Five Killed, About 500 Arrested |The Republican News

    By  Steve Uzoechi, Emmanuel Masha, Uchenna Inya, Kenneth Ofoma, Emmanuel Ifeanyi and Okegwo Kenechukwu

     

    At least five people were feared killed yesterday while the police arrested more than 500 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) in the South-East and South-South regions. Several others were injured in clashes with police during rallies in support of planned declaration of the Biafra Republic and hoisting of the Biafran flag.

    The rallies were held in major cities of Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Rivers and Delta states. Five people were said to have been killed while four others were injured in Anambra State during the 18th anniversary of the “independence of the New Biafra” by the members of MASSOB. The Director of MASSOB Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, said in a statement that the celebration was in continuation of the desire of the group to achieve a sovereignty state of Biafra.

    He said: “While we were gathered at the Onitsha-Owerri Road, by Obosi junction, a joint military task force, including the Army, Navy, Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in over 45 Hilux vehicles shot five of our members dead. “About 206 members were arrested.

    The arrested members included Chief Christian Ifejika, Declan Okafor, Gloria Umejesi, Rose Oforbike, Fidelis Oduenyi, and 173 others.” Mocha said that four persons – Chief Vincent Iloh, Ebuka Emmanuel, Innocent Okolie and Mrs Virginia Ubazuonu – received machete cuts on their heads from the Joint Task Force (JTF) members in their desperate attempt to disperse the crowd. When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Haruna Mohammed, said he was not aware of any arrest or killing. In Imo State, about 84 members of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led MASSOB and BIM were arrested by the police in Owerri.

    According to the Owerri Zonal Leader of MASSOB/BIM, Mr Samuel Njoku, some members of the group were arrested while conducting a press briefing at the old Timber market (Ogbo Osisi) on Wetheral Road, Owerri, while others were arrested on their way to the rally from Orlu, Mgbidi, Ngor Okpala, Mbaise and Okigwe.

    On the reason for their rally, Njoku explained that “since the end of the Civil War in 1970, no Igbo was courageous enough to mention Biafra until Chief Uwazuruike launched MASSOB on September 13, 1999, and on May 22, 2000, declared and hoisted the flag for the new Biafra.”

    According to him, the uniqueness of May 22 anchored on its historic importance makes the day a big event for the struggle for the emancipation of Biafran people.

    The state PPRO, Andrew Enwerem, said arrested members of BIM/MASSOB were separatists who were nabbed by security operatives of the command from various parts of the state. He said the arrests were based on intelligence information that MASSOB/BIM members were about to conduct themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace. As early as 7:30a.m., security men were stationed at various entry points of Owerri, to stop MASSOB members from joining the rally while others were also stationed at various local government areas.

    Despite the heavy security presence, the demonstrators were able to arrive in buses from nearby council areas of the state with Biafra flags and placards bearing various inscriptions depicting commitment to the Biafran state, wearing Biafran military uniforms and chanting Biafran songs and solidarity slogans.

    At least 10 members of MASSOB and BIM were arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Hundreds of Biafra supporters outside Rivers had stormed Port Harcourt to mark the event, starting a procession at Mile Market and were heading towards Eleme Junction before they were intercepted around Garrison Junction by security operatives.

    The security men thereafter released tear gas into the air and arrested 10 of the protesters, mostly those wearing military and NSCDC camouflage. Those that were arrested, according to some of the Biafra supporters, were subsequently taken to the Olu-Obasanjo Police Station in Port Harcourt. Meanwhile, the state PPRO, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was not aware of the arrest. The leader of MASSOB in the state, Solomon Chukwu, lamented that the arrest was unnecessary, noting that they only embarked on a procession and did not engage in any violent behaviour.

    Police, soldiers and other security agents arrested scores of members for MASSOB and BIM in Abakaliki in Ebonyi State. Security agencies in the state accosted them on Nkaliki Road as they started the peaceful march, fired tear gas at them and arrested some of them. Army, Department of State Security (DSS) and the police carried out the joint operation. Commander of the Nigerian Military Cantonment in Nkwegu, Col. S. O. Sadiq, confirmed the participation of the Army in the arrest of the Biafra agitators.

    He said all the arrested persons were handed over to the police. Sadiq said that MASSOB did not notify security agencies in the state of the event in writing which he said necessitated the arrest. The state PPRO, Loveth Odah, confirmed the incident but could not give the actual number of persons arrested.

    “I don’t have the details of the actual number of persons arrested right now when I get the full details I will let you know,” she said. Ebonyi Central MASSOB/BIM leader, Gideon Iloke, said: “Today, we are celebrating Biafra Independence.

    We are happy that the world authorities have recognised Biafra as an independent state and that is why throughout the federation, South-South and South-East are celebrating Biafra independence. We also agreed that all the states under Biafra must gather to celebrate the greatness of Biafra because we are grateful for what God has done to us.”

    In Aba, Abia State, the police arrested 115 members of MASSOB. The Zonal Leader of the group, for Abia South, Mr Fredrick Onyenucheya, disclosed that the police, aside from arresting 115 members of his group, injured many others.

    Onyenucheya, flanked by Chief Obi Anyaogu (leader Abia Central) and Pastor Evans Okoronkwo (Abia North MASSOB/BIM leader), claimed that they were holding peaceful rally to mark this year’s anniversary at Umuorieoma on the Osisioma axis of the Enugu-Aba- Port Harcourt Expressway when policemen in over 20 Hilux vans arrived at the location.

    He said that the group members numbering over 200 gathered at Umuorieoma junction by 9a.m. and were peacefully dancing and marching towards No 175, Faulks to hoist the Biafran flag which will mark the 18th-anniversary re-restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra in the year 2000.” The Abia State Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ogbizi, confirmed the arrest of 47 members of MASSOB and BIM in Aba. Ogbizi said those arrested included men and women and were being held in detention in Aba.

    He said that although they were peaceful during their march, they were arrested because they wore Army camouflage uniforms and had Biafra flags and insignia in their hands. He said: “We are profiling them and when we finish they would be charged accordingly. “The legal department is there.

    They will advise us before we know what else to do.” Also, police in Enugu arrested an undisclosed number of members of MASSOB and BIM for allegedly breaching public peace. The state PPRO, SP Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the arrest in a statement, advised residents to go about their lawful businesses.

    Amaraizu said the state Commissioner of Police, Danmallam Mohammed, had “warned against any act or omission by any individual or group of persons under any guise capable of disrupting the existing peace in the state.” Meanwhile, the Imo State correspondent of the Punch newspaper, Emeka Ihiegbulem, was brutally assaulted by policemen for attending a press briefing by the MASSOB.

    While the policemen dealt him blows, soldiers and personnel of the NSCDC also shoved him around. Ihiegbulam was in the midst of the MASSOB members, trying to clarify an issue raised when policemen, who were later followed by soldiers, stormed the area; cordoned off the rally and forced everyone including journalists to sit on the ground.

    Ihiegbulam said: “I sat down on the ground with all the MASSOB members. I brought out my identity card and my recorder telling the officers that I am a journalist on an assignment and that I was not a MASSOB member.

    They ignored my explanations, arrested me alongside the MASSOB members and marched us all into a lorry to the police headquarters.” Ihiegbulam’s beating started when a soldier and policemen tried to force him to hang a Biafran flag around his neck to give the impression he was arrested with the flag.

    The man firmly refused while brandishing his identity card and work tools. His refusal infuriated the policemen; while one snatched his identity card, recorder and jotter from him, another slapped him from the back of his head. He was trying to see who slapped him when a heavy wooden club landed on his head. At the State Police Command Headquarters, Ihiegbulam was forced to sit on the ground. But Commander, MOPOL 18, who identified Ihiegbulam among the ‘suspects,’ ordered him out of the ground.        (New Telegraph)

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    IPOB: Nnamdi Kanu’s Home Place For Our Sabbath Worship, Dares Police |RN

    Jewish-worshippers-Kanu's-home

    Vow not to leave Nnamdi Kanu’s home

    ■ Say their persecution will attract religious war

    From Okey Sampson, Aba

    Lady Ima Hallelujah Nwachukwu is the leader of the Jewish worshippers, who some of her members were arrested by the police in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.

    In this interview, she spoke about her group, denying that they are terrorists as police would want the world to believe.
    While saying that Nnamdi Kanu’s home is their place for the keeping of the Sabbath, she equally warned the Abia State Commissioner of Police not to do anything that would trigger a religious war in the state. Excerpts:

    Let’s know your name and why you are in Umuahia
    My name is Mrs Ima Hallelujah Nwachukwu, leader of the Jewish worshippers in Umuahia. We are in Umuahia to keep the Sabbath, to worship God.

    We decided to do that in Nnamdi Kanu’s home because he is a Jewish man, one of the leaders in our kingdom. This palace (Kanu’s house) is our home and we cannot run away from our home. Over 100 of us came from different parts of the country for this Sabbath keeping.

    Is it true that while you were observing the Sabbath, police arrested some of you?  

    Yes, they (police) beat some of our brothers mercilessly in our place of worship and tore their clothes before arresting them. Nine of our members were arrested by the police and tortured.

    What did police say was your offence? 

    They said we are terrorists that we came to terrorise the Commissioner of Police (Anthony Ogbizi). We are not carrying any gun or dangerous weapons, but police in Abia State said that our Kapa and attire frighten them.
    They said our attire is the gun we are using to terrorize the commissioner of police. I don’t know when somebody’s attire has become a dangerous weapon that can be used to terrorize the commissioner of police. How can we terrorize the commissioner of police when we don’t know him or his address?

    They say we are terrorists, if that is true, how could we have come with our children whom they attacked and some of them are still in the hospital? Can terrorists go to terrorize a place with men of over 90 years? Since we are terrorists, why did they not arrest all of us when we went to the state police command headquarters for the release of our arrested members? I ask this question because we all are in Abia for the same purpose.

    Could it be that your people were arrested because you came to Nnamdi Kanu’s home to worship?

    Jewish religion, is it a new thing in this country? I think when Nnamdi Kanu was granted bail; the court ruled that one of his sureties must be a Jewish religious leader, that means the court recognises the existence of that religion. The funny part of the whole thing is that when we went to the SCID, a day after the arrest of our members, they said we were no longer terrorists, but surprisingly, the same day, they clamped them into prison.

    Would these arrests deter you from accomplishing what brought you to Abia State?

    Not at all, at present we do not have any other place of worship except here (Nnamdi Kanu’s home), so, this place will continue to be our place of worship. We have our Synagogue here; it is truly our worship centre. If the police like let them arrest all of us, it will not deter us, but all we want the world to know is that we are not terrorists, but worshippers of Yahweh.

    What’s your take on the arrest of your members by the police?

    Well, the commissioner of police knows the consequences because what he is attracting is a religious war. He tagged us, terrorists, he has to prove it, he will prove it. The CP ordered for our arrest because of hatred, anger and envy. But there will be no retreat and no surrender.

    What’s your advice to your members?   

    They should be courageous and not be dismayed for Yahweh Elohim of Hebrew is with us and we shall conquer at the end.  (The Sun)

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