• We arrested only 4 persons –Police
Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has alleged that about 40 of its members were missing after security operatives attacked them while returning from the burial of a member, Odika Esieme Chukwuma at Igbo-Ukwu in Anambra State. The deceased was allegedly killed at Umuahia, Abia State during Operation Python Dance II last year.
The group alleged that some of the members were injured and others arrested and taken to undisclosed cells while others were still missing and their whereabouts unknown after they were attacked by security operatives along Nnewi Ichii Road in Nnewi North LGA of the state on Thursday evening. The police in Anambra has however said only four members of the group were arrested for unlawful gathering.
The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful said that the incident happened after the burial when the members were returning from the village of the deceased at about 5:30 pm and on reaching St Mary’s Catholic Church, where they were supposed to disperse to their various homes, they were allegedly accosted by a team of Nigerian security operatives who allegedly rained bullets on them.
He said: “We are putting the world on notice that since this unwarranted and unprovoked attack and abduction of IPOB members coming back from a burial ceremony from Igbo-Ukwu, our legal team have not located or ascertained the whereabouts of about 40 of our members who were among those attacked along Nnewi Ichii Road in Nnewi North LGA of Anambra state.
“The global family of the IPOB and its leadership worldwide once again wish to draw the attention of the general public and the world at large to the dangerous attacks and arrest of IPOB members in Anambra State last night (Thursday), who went for burial of an IPOB member who was among those killed last year during Operation Python Dance 2 in Umuahia Abia State. It is so wicked and barbaric that the Nigerian Government through her security operatives killed IPOB members during Operation Python Dance 2 in Umuahia last year and refused to allow IPOB to bury the bodies of those they killed.”
Giving graphic details of the incident, the group said, “This barbaric attack by a combined team of Fulani-dominated Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police happened at Nnewi when IPOB family members who went for a burial of one of our IPOB family members by name Odika Esieme Chukwuma, from Igbo-Ukwu in Anambra State. He belonged to IPOB Obosi Zone.
“After the burial, as our people were returning from the village of the deceased around 5:30 pm, and on reaching St Mary’s Catholic Church, where they were supposed to disperse to their various homes, they were accosted by a team of Nigeria security agents and without any provocation they began shooting at our people. In the ensuing chaos, some people fell down and the buses they were travelling in climbed over some of them. Many were injured by the gunshots from the army and police. Many more were taken away by the army and police to unknown destinations. Some people had their cars seized, others with motorcycles had them taken away from them too.
“Once again the Nigerian government, through Gov. Willie Obiano has instructed their combined security forces of Army, Police, SARS and DSS to commence their shoot-to-kill policy on unarmed peaceful IPOB members and to arrest anybody suspected to be an IPOB member anywhere in Biafra land.
This is the same Nigerian security agencies that are collaborating with killer herdsmen, granting amnesty to Boko Haram terrorists but in Biafraland they are busy killing innocent men, women and children at random in every community in Southern and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria.
“It is appalling that Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Nnia Nwodo and South East governors, particularly, Governors of Anambra and Abia states respectively, Chief Willie Obiano and Chief Okezie Ikpeazu are being used by the Fulani north and other Islamists to execute the plans of depopulating Biafraland through herdsmen and Nigerian Army.”
Meanwhile, the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Nkiruka Nwode while reacting to the allegation said the police arrested only four persons for unlawful gathering as members of a proscribed organization, stressing that they did not injure or arrest 40 persons as alleged.
She said that they were arrested with their flags and other items and they admitted that they were members of IPOB, saying that they had no right under the law to organize any activity in public because the federal government has proscribed its activities and declared it a terrorist group.
“Our men only arrested four IPOB members with flags and other items for unlawful gathering since the federal government has proscribed its activities and anybody violating it is committing treasonable felony as prescribed by law of the country which Anambra State is part of. We are going to charge them to court after further investigation. We warned them to desist from such unlawful gathering and the general public should inform the police if they see such illegal gathering which is against the law of the land. There is no way a group should threaten the peace of a country and sitting government and security agents would watch them, that is treasonable felony,” Nwode stated.