• Markets, schools shut in Owerri
  • Proposed meeting of S’East govs, Ohanaeze postponed
  • Rivers elders say indigenes not Biafrans
  • ‘Buhari’s disposition encourages pro-Biafran agitation’
  • Army warns officers against lukewarm attitude
  • Markets, schools shut as MASSOB, IPOB protest

By Jimitota Onoyume, Chidi Nkwopara, Kingsley Omonobi & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Seven  persons have been arraigned by the Police before a Chief Magistrate court in Port Harcourt for their alleged role in the Tuesday pro Biafra protest in the state.

This is coming as markets , schools were shut in Owerri, Imo state captital as MASSOB, IPOD, protest again.

It will be recalled that forty four persons were  arraigned by the Police at the magistrate court over similar protest recently in Port-Harcourt.

This time among the accused  is a female. They are Benedict Egine (55), Uchenna Emenike (25), Chukwunonso Nwaolisa (36), Obilor Onyemachukwu (29), Ogbonna Godwin (31), Wilson Ezeka (42) and female, Destiny Amuchechukwu (19).

They were charged for conspiracy and breach of peace. Count one  accused them of conspiring to “levy war against the Federal Government”, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 37 (2) of the Criminal Code Cap 38 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.

In count two, they were accused  of ” unlawfully demonstrating and chanting “war songs” and the need for a Biafra nation, which caused panic in the neighbourhood.

 Markets, schools shut in Owerri

Biafra protesters
Biafra protesters

Schools and markets in Owerri, the Imo State capital, were shut, yesterday, as scores of loyalists of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, again processed through the major streets of Owerri.

This is as seven people were arraigned in Port-Harcourt, Rivers state for their alleged role in Tuesday’s protest.

The pro-Biafra groups who were spotting uniforms and carrying the Biafran flag and other insignia, chanted songs and danced to the rhythm of their music.

A trader, who simply identified himself as Ikechukwu, and spoke on ground of anonymity from his Douglas Road store, wondered why the group had suddenly decided to disrupt the peaceful business climate in Owerri.

“Owerri has been very peaceful since the current protest started sweeping across the South East and South South states. Although they have been very peaceful about the protest, my fear is that hoodlums may buy into it and cause unimaginable harm in the society,” Ikechukwu said.

Although he appealed to the government to find a way of assuaging the feelings of the demonstrators, Ikechukwu however pointed out that “the military training and instinct in President Muhammadu Buhari, may scuttle this plea.

It was not clear at press time if anybody was arrested, but Vanguard noticed that the security agencies were on high alert and kept a tab on the protesters.

All efforts to reach the mobile line of the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, failed as the service provider continuously announced that he “could not be reached.”

Proposed meeting of S-East Govs, Ohanaeze postponed

Meantime,  the planned meeting of the South East governors, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other stakeholders, will now hold next Tuesday, in Enugu.

According to a statement by Governor Rochas Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Mr. Samuel Onwuemeodo, the meeting, which was initially slated for Owerri, had been moved to Enugu, for strategic reasons.

“The expected meeting of the governors of the South-East states, the leadership of Ohanaeze and other stakeholders, initially slated for this weekend in Owerri, at the instance of Governor Rochas Okorocha, to discuss the continued pro-Biafra protests across the South-East states and other neighbouring states, has been shifted to  Tuesday, November 17, 2015,” Onwuemeodo said.

Okorocha’s image maker also explained that “the venue of the meeting had also been moved from Owerri to Enugu, which had been the traditional headquarters of the South-East states.”

Giving the reason for the  postponement, Onwuemeodo said it was informed by the need for all those expected at the meeting to be in attendance.

“The South-East governors, Ohanaeze leadership and others, who will be at the meeting, will deliberate on the pro-Biafra protests that had gained momentum in recent time and for the governors and other leaders to do what they are expected to do in the circumstance,” the CPS said.

…Rivers elders warn against pro- Biafra protest, say indigenes not Biafrans

In another twist,  Rivers State elders have warned against any form of pro-Biafra protest and gathering in the state, insisting that Rivers people are not Biafrans.

Chairman, Rivers Elders and Leaders Council. RELEC, Chief Albert Horsfal and the secretary of the body, Mr. Lawrence Ibiayemie said most of the pro- Biafra protesters were transported into the state from neighbouring states, describing such an act as bad politics.

According to the group, the intention of the protesters and their sponsors were to  turn the state into a battle-ground for any fracas arising from their acts of rascality.

“The attempt by these elements to focus on Port Harcourt for their political rascality is totally unacceptable and is hereby condemned by Rivers Elders and Leaders Council. The action so far taken by the Biafra protesters in Port Harcourt is highly provocative to all genuine sons and daughters of Rivers State, who have so far restrained themselves from confronting the demonstrators in Port Harcourt. We ask that the choice of Port Harcourt may be a deliberate ploy to make Port Harcourt the battle-ground for any fracas that may follow their rascality, “ they said.

Continuing, the group said they viewed the action of the pro-Biafra agitators as highly provocative, stressing that they aligned with the warning issued by the state government against such action and   pro-Biafra gatherings in the state.

“Rivers State people are not Biafrans and had never been and will never be. The RELEC wishes to call all elders and leaders of the states from which these youths have been pouring into Port Harcourt for this unwelcome and unwholesome political rascality to call their youths to order and forbid them forever from  staging further demonstrations and protest in Port Harcourt and other parts of Rivers State. RELEC will wish to observe the good neighbourly relationship which has always existed between us Rivers people and our neighbours. We wish the cordial and mutually beneficial relationship to continue to exist and therefore seek that those responsible put an immediate halt to these unfriendly activities forthwith,“ the statement read.

…Buhari’s disposition encourages Biafran agitation—Ohanaeze chieftain

But a chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and former President General of Onitsha Markets Amalgamated Traders Association, OMATA,   Chief Pius Ozoh Anaekwe yesterday said the renewed agitation for Biafra by members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and South East Youths is a result of the entrenchment of marginalization of Ndigbo in the five months old administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Chief Anaekwe in an interview with newsmen in Onitsha, stated that President Buhari’s utterances, policies and actions spurred the agitation by the members of IPOB and South East youths who are sympathetic to the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra.

“How can you appoint people to govern Nigeria  and you ignored Ndigbo with their mammoth population and contribution to the development of this country.”

He regretted that operatives of Directorate of State Security (DSS) have taken over the Nigerian judiciary, dictating the outcome of cases.

“Buhari’s government has been based on the next of kin arrangement. When insensitive people are leading a country, that country will never know peace.  The All Progressives Congress (APC), has deceived Nigerians. Their policy is to deny the promises they made to the people and defend Buhari’s unguarded utterances,” he said.

He said that the protest by the members of IPOB  was as a result of the continuous marginalization,  intimidation and injustice meted to Ndigbo, stressing that “Buhari’s government in my own humble opinion has changed from bad to worse. I challenge Buhari’s supporters to tell Nigerians any segment of the country that is happy with Buhari’s actions in the last six months.

“For the past six months, there has been no government.  Only  his so called anti-corruption crusade against ex-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and his perceived political enemies is what we have seen.”

Chief Anaekwe alleged that the President has hijacked the election tribunals, warning that if Buhari was not checked, he may derail Nigeria’s democracy.

“Late President Umaru Yar’dua negotiated amnesty deal with the Niger Delta militants, former President Jonathan offered hand of fellowship to Boko Haram insurgents although they refused, but Buhari uses autocratic means, which is counter – productive,” he said.

…Army warns officers against lukewarm attitude

In a new development,  the military high command has warned its officers against shying away from their duties following what has been described as the lukewarm attitude displayed by officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army during current internal security challenges unfolding in the country like the violent Biafra protests in the South and other political threats as witnessed in the run up to the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

Towards this end, the Army yesterday directed its officers and men engaged in internal security coordination with Nigeria Police to be alive to their responsibilities of adequate protection of lives and property and desist from taking sides.It warned that officers found taking sides in any internal insurrection or failing to perform their responsibility as expected would face the consequences of their actions.



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