The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday warned against the careless killing of its members by security agents, lamenting that over 1,000 members of the group have been publicly and secretly killed since their leader was arrested and detained, Vanguard reports. Also yesterday, the Abia Police Command explained the death of the praying IPOB members in Aba.
The IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful gave the warning while addressing newsmen in Nnewi after their meeting to review their activities and to determine options that will be followed to check the incessant killing of the members for engaging in peaceful protests.
“We wonder what these soldiers and policemen who are killing our innocent members because they embarked on peaceful demonstration to demand the unconditional release of our leader and Director of Radio Biafra Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, are doing in the South East when their marksmanship is needed in the North East to check the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents who are killing people on daily basis.
Kanu and emptiness of the APC government
“The case of our leader has exposed the emptiness of APC government in Nigeria and some ex presidents of Nigeria who are supporting the extra judicial killing of harmless IPOB members who have not carried guns or any dangerous weapons for a day.
“If the present government of APC in Nigeria is responsible, law abiding, respectful to Nigerian constitution, and the orders of court of competent jurisdiction, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu has no business still being incarcerated. No IPOB member or anybody should be shot while engaging in peaceful protest but because this is a government of frustrated, confused and power hungry people who never thought that they will ever lead Nigeria for one day, they use intimidation to shoot people as if they are still in the military era.
“We know the activities of a former president of Nigeria who has been visiting and interacting with the Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, on how to deal with IPOB members in Abia state.The former President has been romancing with the APC and we are looking forward to seeing him declaring for APC. Let him be bold enough to do that instead of working with Abia state Governor to push out IPOB members for their pay masters in APC. We know their role in the killing of our members and very soon we will ask them questions.
“We must make sure that all the past and present Nigerian presidents who are killing our members extra judicially are tried for genocide. The international community is watching. They should remember what happened to the former President of Liberia and his Ivorian counterpart who were killing people while in office, and now nemesis has caught up with them. They are answering questions on the people they killed and the same thing will happen to these heartless Nigerian leaders who are not anything better than the Boko Haram insurgents because of their approval and order to the security agencies to shoot at sight, IPOB and other Biafra agitators and people who embark on protest to air their grievances,” he said.
How pro-Biafra agitators were killed – Police
Explaining the killings in Aba yesterday, the Abia State Police Command said that security agents shot dead two members of a pro-Biafran group for allegedly disturbing students in their school just as the group claimed that 22 of its members have been confirmed dead after the Tuesday shooting. The state Police PRO, DSP Udeviotu Onyeke said the groups involved were members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB.
He said: “Some of our men that were on convoy patrol got information that the pro-Biafra groups were harassing students. Then, the Aba Area Commander, Mr Peter Wabara ordered the policemen on ground to go there and make them to leave the place as the schools were in session and if they had wanted to hold their meeting, they should have found another place in order not to disturb anybody.
“So when the police entered the place, they found that the pro-Biafra groups were relatively calm, so the police took positions to ensure that they did not do any harm. Police was only there to ensure they did not come to cause break-down of law and order on the street. But just as the Police was trying to persuade them to leave the place, soldiers drove in and arrested five of their members and began to take them away but the group members blocked the way of the military personnel. That was when they started shooting at them.
“Before the police left the place, they picked two dead unidentified persons from the ground and arrested 20 others while one who was badly injured was taken to the hospital.” He admitted that some other persons might have been injured in the stampede which the police did not know of during the crisis.
However, the state Coordinator of, MASSOB, Mr Anayo Okpala told our correspondent that the police command was telling half truths, stressing that the group had been using the venue for prayers and meetings for many years now. He said the group met to pray for the release of the IPOB Radio Director, Mr Nnamdi Kanu when the police came and later the Army joined them and began to shoot at them. According to him, the prayers were held in all the states of the South-East and South-South at the few centres hosting the prayer meetings.
Mr Okpala said: “From yesterday to this morning, we counted 22 dead persons and many had various degrees of injuries who had either been shot or killed in the stampede, while many are in hospitals. Some died at the prayer ground but some others have died in the hospitals where they were taken to.”
He said that he was sure at the last count on Wednesday morning that 22 members of the group comprising of MASSOB and IPOB members were dead. Okpala also claimed that the security agents arrested five leaders of the group including the Abia state, Rivers State and Imo state IPOB Coordinators and many other members.
Condemning the killings
Worried by the spate of these killings, the Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, has warned that it would drag the security operatives to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. Also, an Igbo group, Igbo Information Network, has condemned the killings and accused Nigerian soldiers and police of committing genocide in the South East.
The groups lamented the frequent killing of defenseless pro-Biafra groups, saying that the security operatives want to “put the nation on fire by the killing of innocent and unarmed citizens.”
Reacting to the killing of IPOB members Tuesday in Aba, the groups urged the Nigerian Army and Police high command to call their men to order and warn them to stop killing innocent youths of the South East.
Activating self-defence mode
The directorate of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB said it has adopted self-defence mode as enshrined by the relevant acts and declarations of the United Nations, UN, with effect from Wednesday, February 10, this year.
In a press statement issued yesterday, entitled: “Persistent attacks on Biafrans by the Nigerian state: Our rights to self-defence is not activated”, IPOB explained that if Biafrans commence its self-defence, “let no country or world leader attempt to tag us as terrorists because we are not terrorists, rather we are fighting for our survival and from being exterminated from the surface of the earth.”
In the statement jointly signed by their spokespersons, Emma Nmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, IPOB vowed that they will henceforth defend themselves with everything and anything necessary to avoid “the continuous killing of our mothers, fathers, and children.”
According to the statement, “This is the time for all Biafrans to rise and defend themselves. We cannot fold our arms and watch anybody kill us the second time after killing over two million of us in 1968. We have fully and totally activated our rights to self defence.”