•Say Igbo free to express freedom
From Fred Itua, Abuja, Paul Osuyi, Asaba and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday, lampooned security agencies over alleged killings in some states of the South East and the South South. Ekweremadu warned that no one can stop people from speaking up in a democracy. He said this on the floor of the Senate, under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Rules and called on his colleagues to rise up and condemn alleged killings of young men and women in the South East during celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Biafra Day.
“Security agencies must apply caution in trying to quell disturbances. We have had so much of bloodbath in this country under different circumstances and, we cannot continue to lose young men and women because the future of this country belongs to them.
“We are now in a democracy and people should be entitled to speak their minds and to assemble under responsible circumstances and security agencies must also be responsible in dealing with those circumstances to ensure that lives are not lost unnecessarily.”
In his response, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said necessary actions will be taken to address the issues raised by Ekweremadu. He did not however, set up the committee as suggested by Ekweremadu.
In Asaba, Col. Joe Achuzia (retd), a civil war veteran also condemned the alleged killings. He said the killings have confirmed the fears in some quarters that the dreaded Boko Haram sect has infiltrated the South-South and South-East zones and implored security agencies to be alive to their responsibility.
“I am asking that this show of force should stop in our own interest, and let dialogue prevail.
“We, elders cannot sit back and watch things go from bad to worse. Let government adopt dialogue because we are capable of reacting when pushed to the wall.”
To the traditional Prime Minister of Awkuzu and a colonel in the Biafran Army, Chief Michael Ozua Okoye the killings are tragic and expressed sadness on hearing about the killings.
Okoye noted that Biafra state would come at God’s own time and not necessarily through fighting and killing of people, saying that the remembrance of fallen heros had been peaceful and wondered why this year’s event turned bloody.
Okoye said Eze Igbo Gburugburu, the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who started the fight in his lifetime, did not advocate for another war.
…BIM decries stoppage of rallies
From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha, Okey Sampson, Aba and Emmanuel Uzor, Abakaliki
Leader of the Biafran Independent Movement (BIM), Chief Ralph Uwazurike has condemned military clampdown on the peaceful rallies by the pro-Biafran groups.
Uwazuruike described it as unacceptable, through the Anambra Central Zonal Director, Vincent Iloh. He said their group, no matter how provoked, would still abide by their non-violent posture.
Meanwhile, police in Abia State have refuted reports that they shot dead some members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and BIM who marched round the city in commemoration of this year’s Biafra anniversary.
Police insisted nobody was killed in the state during the rally.
The state command PPRO, Ezekiel Onyeke told Daily Sun, that nobody was killed by the police in the state with respect to the MASSOB rally yesterday. Onyeke said what police did was to disperse MASSOB with teargas and not with live bullets, adding that while four members of the group were arrested in Umuahia, none was arrested in Aba.
It was, however, a different scenario in Ebonyi State. Over 88 MASSOB members were, arraigned at a Magistrate Court in Abakaliki for engaging in illegal gathering .
They pleaded not guilty and were charged with unlawful assembly and belonging to an unlawful organisation by the police.
Among those arraigned were five pastors who were seen holding their bibles firmly when they were brought to court by the police.
Lead counsel, Eze Enyi who applied for their bail also urged the court to transfer the under-aged ones to juvenile/family law court.
Trial Magistrate, Stella Ogoke granted them bail in the sum of N500, 000 with seven sureties who must either be civil servants or businessmen resident in Abakaliki.