Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) condemned the sit-at-home order, stressing it was a bad move meant to incite violence
– Army, Navy, Police, others in show of force
Raphael Ede, Enugu, Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha , Felix Ikem, Nsukka and David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Ahead of tomorrow’s sit-at-home ordered by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to mark the alleged killing of its members in 2017, security agencies commenced a joint training patrol to contain any threat that might arise from the order.
The show of force was conducted in Enugu State, yesterday.
The joint security team comprised personnel of the Nigerian army, the Nigerian Ai Force, Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigeria Customs Services, Nigerian Immigration Services and Directorate of State Security Services (DSS).
Addressing the joint security personnel at the parade ground of the 82 Division of Nigerian army, yesterday, General Officer Commanding (GOC) , Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Kabuk, said the training became necessary because of the various security challenges threatening the unity of the country.
“It is better we train together so that we will understand ourselves. If we don’t train together, we may not be able to handle some of the threats when they actually show up. It is important to tell Nigerians that government is not wasting resource on us.
“We train together to ensure that the public go about their businesses without molestation, but, if any group goes about to cause breach of publc peace, we will tell them that we are capable,” he warned.
He maintained that the security community was not pursuing anybody or group, but for peace to reign and people to go about their lawful businesses and warned trouble makers to steer clear of the South East.
Also, Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Danmalam Mohammed, has warned in a statement that he will not stand and watch anybody or group disrupt the prevailing peace in Enugu State.
Meanwhile, IPOB members took to the streets and roads of Onitsha, Anambra State, on a peaceful march, yesterday. The march was to sensitise the general public on the sit-at-home order it declared for tomorrow.
The group, in their numbers, comprising Lion Squad, a security outfit of the organisation and other members with Biafran flags including young men, women and children were chanting freedom and solidarity songs with flutes and bore Biafran flags.
The group, most of whom did not wear any shirts while others wore singlets and red shirts, black trousers with traditional Igbo caps, marched through Upper Iweka, Iweka Road to Main Market, and described it as their own show of force against Operation Python Dance 3, in Biafraland being the reason for their call for sit-at-home.
They insisted that the people should remain indoors that day or stand to be blamed in case of eventualities. The group’s movement caused gridlock along Iweka Road as vehicles coming from Modebe and those coming from Fegge or Main Market were held for some time before continuing their journey.
IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful said the ‘show of force’ will continue in Asaba, Igweocha, Aba, Owerri, Abakaliki, Awka, Enugu, Umuahia and Orlu against Operation Python Dance 3.
But, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), a Superintendent of Police, Haruna Mohammed, when contacted on the issue, denied IPOB’s sensitisation march in Onitsha. He said the commercial city was calm.
There was tension in Nnewi, yesterday, with regards to Operation ‘Python Dance 3 but, the police insisted there was no cause for alarm and described IPOB as an illegal group which stands proscribed.
To prove its resolve to carry out the exercise, the pro-Biafra group had sensitisation posters pasted at some areas in the industrial community, although police were seen removing the posters wherever they saw them.
A senior police officer who declined to be named said residents should go their normal and lawful businesses, and added that the police were on top of the situation.
He said the Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Umar, has had a security meeting with all the heads of security operatives and other stakeholders in Anambra; to ensure watertight security arrangement to forestall any incident of lawlessness.
In a related development, Igbo Renaissance Forum has kicked against the exercise in the South East.
The group said the effect of Operation Python Dance 2 was still fresh in the minds of the people.
International Coordinator of the forum, Nze Ugo-Akpe Onwuka (Oyi of Oyi II), in a statement, yesterday, wondered why the South East was being aggravated unnecessarily.
The forum declared that the ‘Operation Python Dance’ in the South East,has always left a bloody trail.
Regardless, Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), has condemned the sit-at-home order.
MASSOB stressed that it is a bad move meant to incite violence in the country.
Leader of the group in Enugu North senatorial district, Kenneth Okwudili, made this declaration in a chat with Daily Sun, at Nsukka, yesterday.
According to the group, “IPOB is not supposed to declare sit-at-home at this volatile period in Nigeria, as the 2019 general election is fast approaching.
“We (MASSOB), hereby, condemn in its entirety, the act and motive of sit-at-home order by IPOB.
“This is a very wrong decision and motive. We, MASSOB, cannot be part of such wrong directive.We cannot also be part of IPOB because we cannot get Biafra through such method.
“IPOB has continued to show its true colour as a violent separatist group, which MASSOB does not want to align itself with.
“We have continued to tell our members not to engage themselves with any form of violence, so as to avoid being used as scapegoat.”