By Dennis Agbo
AFIKPOâ€”THOUSANDS of members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, yesterday, took to the streets of the ancient city of Afikpo in Ebonyi State, in a peaceful protest, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of their leader, Chief Ralph Uwazurike, who is being held in Kuje Prison, Abuja over kidnap allegation.
The MASSOB members, who thronged the second largest city in Ebonyi, arrived the town from different local government areas of the state in buses and converged at Saint Maryâ€™s Catholic Church, from where they marched the streets of Afikpo,Â passing through Eke Market Square up to the council headquarters.
Coincidentally, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was at the time holding the partyâ€™s rally in the same city but MASSOB members were neither molested nor dispersed by either the security agencies or any other group.
Speaking to newsmen while protesting, MASSOBâ€™s National Director for Information, Uchenna Madu, said the organisation â€œall over Biafraland today (yesterday) are protesting against the inhuman treatment and unjust punishment meted to our dynamic leader, Chief Uwazurike by the Nigeria government.â€
Madu said that MASSOB had studied Uwazurikeâ€™s ordeals in the handsÂ of â€œour enemiesâ€ and resolved that Uwazurike must be released without any condition, adding that the Uwazurike they know cannot be a kidnapper or trouble maker.
Madu also said that because of the nature of hatred, ethnic/religious sentiments and politics of segregation that have continued to lead to the massive killings in the Northern part of Nigeria , â€œthe best solution is to deliberately allow the different entities to be on their own than violent break-up that could lead to more loss of lives.â€
He said that MASSOB sympathises with Christians recently massacred in Jos by suspected Islamic fundamentalists from Northern Nigeria and called on the United Nations, USA, France, Britain, African Union â€œto rise and defend the people of Biafra from Nigeriaâ€™s continued occupation of our land and systemic genocide in Biafra, and MASSOB is holding Goodluck Jonanathan and Ikedi Ohakim responsible for Uwazurikeâ€™s current imprisonment.â€