From Paul Osuyi, Asaba and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Elders-in-Council of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra and Biafra Independence Movement (MASSOB/BIM) have condemned the arrest of members of the movement on Monday.
Members of the pro-Biafra group were arrested during a rally to herald its independence anniversary celebrations, while several others, who were dispersed with tear gas were wounded.
Larry Odinmah, supported by his Delta North Coordinator, Chinedu Amaifeobu, and the Zonal Commander of Security, Ignatius Adili-Ajana, who spoke on behalf of the council demanded the unconditional release of those arrested. They also condemned what they described as intimidation, harassment, arrest and detention of over 30 agitators in Asaba, including the Delta Central Coordinator, Mr. Berry Akujinwa.
Odinmah narrated the outcome of the emergency meeting with the national leader of the group, Ralph Uwazuruike, at the national secretariat in Owerri
He said the demonstration across the South-East and South-South geo-political zones was non-violent, and wondered why his members were arrested.
“Nigeria is operating under the UN charter, which bestows the right on us to demonstrate peacefully and call ourselves Biafrans. The elders’ council condemns the action of the police, because the force is aware that MASSOB/BIM is a non-violent group. Government should grant them unconditional release and allow us (Biafrans) to go,” he stated.
The elders, who stopped over at the late Chukwumah Nzeogwu’s (a civil war veteran) house in Okpanam axis of Asaba on the order of Uwazuruike, consoled with his family on the death of his sister.
Odinmah said the proposed football match in Asaba to end the anniversary celebration has been rescheduled to a later date to be communicated.
Meanwhile, a pro-Biafran group, Biafra National Guard (BNG) has enjoined Biafran groups to unite in the struggle for the restoration of Biafran state.
The group said it has forces with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to call on Biafrans to respect and observe the sit-at-home order declared on May 30, 2017 to honour fallen heroes of civil war who died between 1967 and 1970.
BNG said it believed in May 30 anniversary when the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu declared Biafra independence in 1967 that led to the war that claimed lives of Biafrans who should be accorded respect and honour.
As such, the group will be staying at home to reflect on the sacrifices for others to live.
Leader of BNG, Gen. Innocent Orji, who spoke through his Public Relations Officer, Mr. Ruben Okoro, in a statement urged pro-Biafra groups to unite in the pursuit of freedom and exit of Biafra from the forced marriage with Nigeria.
“BNG officers with its leader, Gen. Orji urge you all Biafrans and friends of Biafra to close your workshops, markets, companies, transport etc and embark on this forthcoming one day sit-at-home event in remembrance, respect to mourn and pray for all our Biafran fallen heroes in support of IPOB agenda.
“On May 30, 2017, the international community and foreign observers with their foreign media, will monitor our voluntary sit-at-home exercise to find out if the people of Biafra were ready for the upcoming United Nation referendum for Biafra sovereignty. Anybody or group found going contrary or making mockery of our fallen heroes will be dealt with and to be seen as saboteurs and anti-Biafrans.