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IPOB members who ambushed Obiano in church had intention to attack him — Police

By Pamela Eboh, Awka on 31/07/2017

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•Anambra Police Commissioner Garba Umar
•Anambra Police Commissioner Garba Umar

Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who ambushed Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, on Sunday at St. Joseph Church, Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area, of the state “had criminal intention to attack the Governor.”

Anambra Police Commissioner, Mr. Garba Umar, stated this while confirming the news which was broken on Sunday afternoon by News Express. CP Umar, speaking on telephone, warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity.

His said: “You press people should report this. We will no longer tolerate this impunity from anybody.

“Why should they protest to the church? The church is a place of worship; and not a place of protest. It is obvious that they had criminal intention to attack the Governor.

“The police had to stop them at the gate. If they had dared my men, it would have been a different story. We can’t watch anybody breach public peace in this state. They should be warned to desist from this impunity.”

The crowd of protesters had stormed the church adorning Biafra regalia and chanting, “No election in Anambra State”, “We want referendum”. They arrived the church shortly after Obiano’s arrival. As they pressed towards the church gate in droves chanting “There will be no election in Anambra”, “We want a referendum”, the security details of the Governor sensed danger and immediately locked the entrance gate.

News Express learnt that during the standoff, the number of IPOB members continued to increase. A source who witnessed the drama said: “I think they were reinforcing from Onitsha. As their number continued to increase, the Governor’s security had to smuggle him out of the church.”

However, the Governor’s Spokesman, James Eze, said his principal was not smuggled out of the church. This is his account of what happened: “

“The growing popularity of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may soon suffer a setback if the leadership of the organization does not step up quickly to check the increasing excesses of its members.

“This is because a group of IPOB members stormed the St Joseph Pro-Cathedral Catholic Church Ekwulobia today chanting “No Election” on top of their voices in a bid to press home the group’s position that the Anambra gubernatorial election that has been scheduled for November 18 should not hold.

“Catholic faithful who had gathered to worship their God in solemnity and peace were surprised at the unexpected intrusion of the self-determination activists who were restricted at the gate. The only possible explanation for their action may have been the presence of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano who had arrived the church early to celebrate with the Catholic Youths of the parish who were marking their 2017 Youth Day. Thankfully, there was no incident however as the Mass went on smoothly with the officiating priest assuring the congregants that there was nothing to fear.

“Governor Obiano later addressed the congregation urging the youths to dedicate their lives to Christ especially at this moment in the nation’s history which places undue pressure on young people. The Governor further reassured the people that the coming gubernatorial election would hold as scheduled and urged everyone to strive to maintain the peace that Anambra had become known for.

“The Governor later made his way out of the church premises peacefully with the protesters declaring their “No Election” stand as his motorcade drove past them. His departure was easy and peaceful. Again, no incident.

“However, some church members who spoke after the mass expressed surprise about the group’s intrusion during a Catholic Mass urging their leaders to check the trend before it begins to whittle down the group’s popularity among the people.”

News Express reports that this is the second time IPOB members would be accused of disrupting a church service in Anambra. About two weeks ago, a group of unidentified youths suspected to be IPOB members disrupted a church function attended by the governorship candidate of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Mr. Godwin Ezeemo, at Odoekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area. Governor Obiano, who belongs to the factionalised All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is seeking re-election in the November 18, 2017 ballot.

 

Source News Express

Posted 31/07/2017 11:31:20 AM

 

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