Twelve members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in Enugu have been arrested by men of the Enugu State Police Command for urging traders at the Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, to comply with the ‘Sit-at-home’ protest declared to hold on Friday by IPOB.
The suspects were alleged to have breached public peace by using public address systems in compelling the traders to close their shops on Friday 23 September, in support of IPOB/ MASSOB’s continued protest for the release of the IPOB leader, Dr Nnamdi Kanu.
The Enugu State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the arrest of the 12 suspects in a press statement issued to newsmen in Enugu yesterday.
He vowed that they would be charged to court immediately as soon as investigations on the matter were concluded.
Amaraizu said: “Suspects were nabbed inside the popular Ogbete Market of Enugu State as they allegedly went into the market with public address systems to threaten and inflict fear on members of the public, precisely the marketers not to open their shops from 20 September and that if anyone flouts the order, that person will be dealt with by the group”.
Among the items recovered from the 12 IPOB suspects, according to Amaraizu, were 21 GSM phones of different sizes, flags with IPOB imprints, public address systems and one wireless microphone.
Meanwhile, the struggle for the actualisation of the state of Biafra took a new dimension with the emergence of a new pro-Biafra group, Ancestors Warriors of Biafra (AWOB), which has threatened woes to churches that encourage their followers to pray for Nigeria’s political and economic survival.
In a release made available to newsmen in Onitsha, yesterday, the General Commander of the group, General Nworie Onyeabo Ukwani, said the warning has become pertinent as most Churches preach for the survival of Nigeria as a country during their crusades, fellowships, regular worships and other intercessory sessions.
He called on religious leaders to stop deceiving their congregations and face the challenges on hand by preaching freedom in their various churches.
Gen. Ukwani warned that the group would soon ban the recitation of the Nigerian National Anthem in schools in the South East, including the National Pledge and other symbols of the country’s sovereignty.
He stressed that the people would not continue to pledge their loyalty to a country that thrives in injustice and denial of gifted and dedicated people of Biafra of their natural rights and infrastructural development of their territory.
The release further hinted that with the emergence of the new pro-Biafra group, all the anomalies aimed at further impoverishing and marginalising the South East masses would be a thing of the past.
He urged every school teacher and pastor in the region to start mobilizing support for the group for the actualisation of their goals.
However, reacting to the alleged emergence of the new pro-Biafra group, Emmanuel Powerful, Media and Publicity Secretary of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, told The AUTHORITY that any group was free to emerge, but insisted that any group that wants to achieve its objectives through force and intimidation cannot survive.
He added that to actualize Biafra, major actors should use moral suasion, negotiation, propaganda and peaceful protests – not force and intimidation.