BY PETER OKUTU

ABAKALIKI- President-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Ambassador Raph Uwechue, has called on the Federal Government to create an additional state for the South-East geopolitical zone.

He said the implementation of the proposal would rectify the existing anomaly in the allocation of states which had over time relegated the South- East to an inferior status and chart a new course for Ndigbo in the Nigerian polity.

Meanwhile, over 100 members of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, were arrested at Abakaliki Township Stadium, venue of this year’s Igbo Day celebration under the suspicion that they were mobilized to disrupt the event.

Speaking with Vanguard, Director of Religious Affairs, MASSOB, Bishop Chinedu Okike, who expressed dismay over the arrest of MASSOB members, stated that there was no reason for the arrest even as he described the organization as non-violent.

He alleged that some of the police officers behind the arrest were members of Boko Haram who do not want the objectives of MASSOB to thrive in the country.

He said: “We are here to represent Chief Uwazurike, the MASSOB leader. He is supposed to be here but an urgent business required his attention in Abuja. We are here to represent him for the Ohanaeze Igbo Day celebration. But to our greatest surprise we got information that our members, the Biafra security men, were arrested and we have to proceed to Governor Martin Elechi immediately.

“Thank God he gave order that they should be released immediately. We went to the state Commissioner of Police and discovered that over 100 of our men were arrested. Although we have information that some people are still under arrest, after this moment we will make moves to ensure

that they are released since the governor has given the order.

“The struggle of Biafra continues. It is a non-violent movement. We believe that one day Biafra will be actualized.

and even President Jonathan knows what I’m talking about and he recognized MASSOB as a non-violent organization. We are a peaceful movement and we don’t condone evil and we cannot go into crisis. We are not Boko Haram.

“If there are members of Boko Haram here, I know police would have ran away. But any each time they see MASSOB, they now know that they have power.

“I don’t think it is proper and most of the police officers that are doing this are Police from the North and all of them are members of Boko Haram. They should allow us to agitate for our freedom because by African Charter of Human of Right, we have the right to agitate for our right.”

Uwechue, made the call at the 2011 Igbo Day celebration which was hosted by Ebonyi State government.

He noted that attainment of zonal equality for the South east demanded that all hands be on deck as it would not be handed over to Ndigbo on a platter of gold adding that the display of unity by South East

governors and other well meaning Igbos in pursuit of a common political and economic agenda was a welcome development.

In his address, Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi state who x-rayed some of the challenges that often confront Igbos during crisis because of their presence in virtually all the states of the nation, called on

them to “strive wherever we are to ensure the prevalence of peace, because we have a stake in every part of Nigeria”.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Ebonyi State Police Command, ASP John Eluu who confirmed the arrest of the members of MASSOB in Abakaliki, however disclosed that he was not aware of their release.

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