From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has insisted the timber market in Orlu, Imo State was shutdown by the Nigeria Army because the traders chose to show solidarity for Nnamdi Kanu on Monday, when his scheduled trial began.
Media and Publicity Secretary of the group, Emma Powerful, in a statement, claimed the traders were equally harassed just for showing respect to Kanu.
He said the action of the army negates the fundamental human rights, maintaining the people have their choices to make.
Powerful also said IPOB is tired of the constant parade of Igbo youths by the police, claiming they are members of the Eastern Security Network (ESN)
“Our attention has been drawn to the unprovoked harassment of our people and traders at various markets, especially in Orlu, Imo State, who refused to open for business on Monday, July 26, as a way of showing their solidarity with our leader, during his court hearing in Abuja.
“A trader committed no crime known to law by not opening for business for whatever reason. Why would the Nigeria Army descend so low as intimidating Biafra traders, who, on their own volition, decided to support our leader.
“It is their fundamental rights to determine when to open for business and what to do with their time, more so when nobody compelled them.
“Soldiers locking market gates in Owerri, Orlu and other places, chasing people out of market because they supported our leader, is madness taken too far. What a shame for soldiers to abandon their duty posts and begin to chase around innocent Biafran traders.
“We are worried about the incessant parading of innocent youths in Biafra land by police and tagged them ESN or unknown gunmen. We are deeply concerned how the police Commissioner of Police in Imo State, Abutu Yaro, would be harassing innocent Biafrans and laid false allegations against them.
“The Federal Government and its army and police must know that those people they were illegally parading are not IPOB or ESN members, especially the persons they claimed to be caught at Amaraku in Isiala Mbano council in Imo State.
“The police and army should understand that the public knew them and know how they work in Nigeria since their creation.
“We are warning the police, army and the Department of State Services to stop giving false information about the existence of citizens because people understands and not happy with them.”
The market was closed on Monday by alleged military men for security reasons, but IPOB has insisted the action of the military was deliberate to frustrate the traders who, he said, had closed their shops in solidarity for Kanu.