Abia State Command of Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in collaboration with other sister security agencies in the state on Tuesday held a Joint Show of Force (JSF) operation in major cities of the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Chris Ezike in a telephone interview told our reporter that the command arrested thirty seven members of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Umuahia, the state capital who he said dressed in Jewish robe while they joined their counterparts in the state to observe the group’s planned 10million march protest of the group.
Ezike added that the personnel of the command also recovered Israelie and Biafra insignia from the IPOB members. This is even as he stated the law will soon take its course after they have profiled members of the outlawed group.
Information gathered by our reporter has it that the protesters trooped out in their thousands and began the peaceful protest around 10:00am from the Hotel Damgrate axis of Library Avenue (Bank Road); some distance from the home of the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The protesters comprising men, women and children were said to be chanting songs in Hebrew language, singing pro-Biafra songs, waving Biafra and Israeli flags as they marched the streets of Umuahia.
The protest, which was said to be peaceful turned bad when the protesters who were heading towards the popular Isi-Gate were intercepted and ordered to a halt at the Okpara Square by heavily armed policemen in over four pick-up vans.
The security men were said to have allegedly started firing teargas canisters to disperse the protesters which resulted to chaos in the area as traders and passersby scampered for safety.
Unconfirmed report has it that a resident of Umuahia believed to be an asthmatic patient in the area who inhaled the teargas slumped but was however rushed out of the scene with the help of a commercial tricyclist that reportedly took the victim to an undisclosed hospital.
Our reporter who also monitored the march in Aba where the IPOB were said to have high followership reports that security agencies including Army, Civil Defence, regular police and tactical commanders of Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) as early as 7am moved in a convoy round major streets of Aba.
Areas covered by the team include Ariaria market, Azikiwe road, Faulks road, Aba-Owerri road, Port Harcourt road among others.
An anonymous senior Police officer in Aba Area Command told our reporter that no arrest was made in Aba as there were no IPOB or Jewish protesters on the streets of Aba.
The source while urging Aba residents to go about their business without fear of molestation, added that the police and other sister agencies were committed in making sure that there was peace and security of lives and property in the commercial town during and after the festive period.
In a related development, the leadership of IPOB who gave the number of the arrested members as fifty four (54) frowned at what it described as incessant arrest of the Jewish worshippers and IPOB members by security agents in the state.
IPOB in a release signed by its spokesman, Emma Powerful threatened that they were going to notify Jewish Community all over the world about the deliberate attempt by security agencies in Nigeria and Abia State in particular to clamp down on members of the religious faith who were even peaceful while exercising their fundamental human rights.
“We are warning Abia state police commissioner to release them, the 54 innocent citizens of Biafra who were doing peaceful evangelism in Umuahia for Biafra freedom. We blame Okezie Ikpeazu and Abia police commissioner for the damage this action may cause in Abia state if they fail to release these innocent Jewish worshipers exercising their rights. Okezie Ikpeazu and police commissioner must release those arrested without further delay or they will live to regret what will come upon them soon.
“IPOB is firmly rooted with peaceful way to restore Biafra and cannot change its resolve to become a violent organization because of high handedness Nigerian Government and her security agencies especially police and army officers are using against IPOB members since inception of this peaceful means adopted by our supreme leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. We are calling on Nigerian Police and Army officers to stop this humiliation and harassment forthwith on anybody identified with IPOB family worldwide or face the consequences.
“We are aware that Abia police commissioner and other security officers in Umuahia Abia state are working hard to please their Hausa Fulani slaves’ masters in Abuja but Hausa Fulani caliphate and their collaborators must deny them at the appropriate time.
“However, IPOB must not fail to warn police commissioner and Okezie Ikpeazu once again if they fail to release these innocent citizens who committed no crime against anybody or Nigeria state that means they should prepare and wait for IPOB action. We are coming on Nigeria police soon because you cannot continue killing and intimidating innocent and unarmed IPOB faithful and go Scot free.
“We promise to remain peaceful in every approach asking that Nigerian government never push IPOB to pick up arms against anybody because it won’t be good to all and sundry in Nigeria,” the statement read.