Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 30 May 2016 | 3,519 times
The police in Umuahia, Abia State capital, today arrested 10 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) even as many sustained varying degrees of injuries while one was wounded by stray bullet during a peaceful rally organised to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the declaration of the defunct Republic of Biafra.
Trouble started when police, after trying in vain to block the Biafra agitators from going ahead with their peaceful procession at the popular Isigate, the major intersection in Umuahia town, fired teargas to disperse the crowd at the Asaba Street headquarters of the groups, forcing the ceremony to end in stampede.
MASSOB sources alleged that the police equally shot into the air and a stray bullet hit one of their security officers who were rushed to an undisclosed hospital for medical attention.
However, the police disputed the MASSOB account, saying that they arrested only four members of MASSOB.
According to the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Onyeke Udeviotu, the police did not release any gunshot but fired tear gas to disperse the crowd and arrested only four persons.
Hundreds of members of MASSOB and BIM had at about 10am assembled at Number 1 Asaba Street in Umuahia, where they held an hour-long prayer session and appealed to God to grant their desire of realising their dream of a Republic of Biafra.
The prayer session over, the MASSOB/BIM members began a procession through major streets and were hailed and even joined by many traders at the spot.
Addressing newsmen before the procession, the MASSOB/BIM Abia Central Zonal Administrator, Mr Felix Ezekwem, said the agitators were tired of staying in Nigeria while declaring that “Biafra is alive.”
“Biafra is our nation! Biafra is our right. We are going to our promised land, Biafra,” he declared further while describing the lumping of Biafra into Nigeria as a design to cheat the South.
He described the amalgamation of Nigeria as an evil concoction which was why the blood of innocent people were being shed in the country
“The only solution to Nigeria,” according to the Administrator represented by the Zonal Information Director, Mr Anselem Ogbonna, “is to divide Nigeria into six countries with every geo-political zone enjoying its republic while a bilateral agreement will guide the future relationship of the new republics.”
He maintained that hatred among the ethnic nationalities was the root cause of Nigeria’s problems, adding that 100 national conferences would not provide solution to Nigeria’s problems.
The Administrator said many Igbo were being wasted daily in a calculated measure to depopulate the South East, recalling that the 1966 pogrom of Igbos in the North, Boko Haram insurgency and the Fulani herdsmen attacks were part of the tactics by Nigerian authorities to “wipe out a major nationality.”
The groups insisted that people failed to see what the Igbo legend, Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, predicted 49 years ago, adding that May 30, the day the then Biafra leader declared the Republic of Biafra, has come to stay.
The commander lambasted Igbo politicians who believe that the South East should continue to be part of Nigeria, even as they contended that the amalgamation of Nigeria remains the source of corruption in the country.
•Photo shows pro-Biafra campaigners.
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