…Schools announce closure in Anambra
…Military helicopters hover around Kanu’s home —IPOB
…We’ll clamp down on any breach of peace — Police
…Police disrupt IPOB members’ meeting in Rivers
…Army, police roll out tanks in Onitsha
…Avoid repression of Biafra day protests —AI
…All Biafrans should obey IPOB — Achuzia
By Chioma Gabriel, Emeka Mamah, Emma Amaize, Emma Nnadozie, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Davies Iheamnachor, Peter Okutu, Chinonso Alozie, Nwabueze Okonkwo & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Awka—ALL private and mission schools in Anambra State would remain closed today in obedience to the sit-at-home directive by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
This came as the police authorities announced clamp down on any breach of peace in the south east and south south states.
Various churches in Anambra announced to their congregation on Sunday that all schools managed by them should remain closed to enable them remember all those who died during the Biafra war.
Similarly, private schools authorities gave their pupils a free day and urged them to remain in their homes.
Also out of fear, many banks announced that they would not open to public, although they would work in their offices.
Many people made panic purchases of their household requirements, yesterday, as the various markets prepare to lock up in obedience to the IPOB sit-at-home order.
Military helicopters hover around Kanu’s home
Meanwhile, IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, said information reaching the organisation showed that about 70 truck loads of soldiers with ammunition were heading to Umuahia, the home town of IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, from Enugu.
He also said military helicopters were hovering around Umuahia to the discomfort of the inhabitants of the town and urged Biafra supporters to be on the alert and to start heading to Umuahia at short notice.
“The soldiers are spoiling for war in a serious bid to eliminate our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,” Powerful alleged.
Police warn IPOB, MASSOB
The Police commands in South-East states have warned members of IPOB, and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, against forcing the people to stay at home today.
The Police in Anambra State, yesterday, cautioned the people of the state against going out on the streets to undermine the rights of others, warning that it will clamp down on any group or persons that toe the part of criminality in the guise of any protest in the state.
The state police boss, Sam Okaula, who spoke over the planned sit-at-home protest by Biafran agitators stated that the police will not allow miscreants and hoodlums to operate under any guise in the state and will do everything within its power to suppress them.
According to him, “anybody who has any axe to grind with anybody should take the rightful steps and possibly go to established system to settle that and not going to the streets, undermining the rights of others.”
In Abia State, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Leye Oyebade said no one has the right to tell Abians to stay at home and not to go about their lawful businesses.
He said the constitution of Nigeria was very clear on the issue of freedom of association and movement of people.
According to him, the constitution only restrains anyone when such a person must have gone foul of the laws of the land and “such person will be dealt with according to the laws of the land, no more, no less.”
In Ebonyi, the state Police command has vowed to arrest IPOB and MASSOB members should they go ahead to force people to sit-at-home today.
In a phone-in programme at the Ebonyi State Broadcasting Service, EBBC, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Jude Madu, called on members of the public to report the activities of IPOB and MASSOB to the police for appropriate action, adding that the police will arrest anybody or group who go about forcing people to stay indoors against their wish.
“IPOB and MASSOB are techniques developed by some individuals to gain public interest and recognition as the former is even a breakaway organ of the latter. These groups have not provided amenities or other forms of social security for the people they are directing to stay at home; it shows that their intentions are not sincere and must be rejected by all,” he said.
In Imo State, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Chris Ezike, said the police have started show of “force” to build public confidence, ahead of the planned sit-at-home order. The CP also described the act as unpatriotic and inciting, through a release issued to newsmen in Owerri, by the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem.
In Delta State, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Zanna Ibrahim, yesterday, read the riot act to the IPOB and MASSOB members, warning them not to carry out any protest in the state today.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Delta Command, DSP Andrew Aniamaka, in a statement, said the commissioner “advised proponents and organisers of the planned IPOB/MASSOB protest to have a change of heart and urged parents and guardians to restrain their children and wards from joining any unlawful group to protest as security agents have been fully mobilised to deal severely with groups or individuals who engage themselves in any unlawful assembly or protests.”
The Enugu State police command, yesterday, warned IPOB, BIM and MASSOB against forcing members of the public to carry out their sit-at-home order and asked the people to report any person or persons asking them to do so through the following distress call lines: 08032003702, 08075390883, 08086671202 and 08098880172 .
Police disrupt IPOB members’ meeting in Rivers
Similarly, operatives of the Nigeria Police Force, yesterday, disrupted members of IPOB, who were in a meeting around Rumuolumeni Community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A source who related the development to Vanguard alleged that some supporters of IPOB have been arrested during the incident.
It was learnt that the incident started on Sunday night when security operatives stormed a venue in the community where IPOB members were meeting.
The IPOB members, who were enraged over the police action, had engaged the policemen in serious argument when police tried to find out the essence of the gathering.
When the argument stiffened, the police started shooting in the air even as they used teargas to disperse the meeting.
Contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, noted that there was an order directing commissioners of police in the states of the federation not to allow such gathering.
Army, police roll out tanks in Onitsha
It was all tension and apprehension, yesterday, in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State as soldiers and policemen stationed Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, in strategic locations in the city, apparently to confront members of IPOB, should they make any attempt to disrupt peoples’ movements in a move to enforce their today’s sit-at-home order.
Some of the strategic places where the APC were seen included Dennis Memorial Grammar School, DMGS roundabout, Onitsha; Niger bridge, among others, while a combined team of soldiers, policemen, Navy, civil defence corps, Department of State Services, DSS, NDLEA and Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, were seen patrolling around the city in a long convoy.
All Biafrans should obey IPOB — Achuzia
Former Biafra warlord, Col. Joe Achizia (retd) known during the Biafra War as “Air raid” yesterday told Ndigbo to obey the sit-at-home directive, as a mark of respect and solidarity to fallen Igbo heroes and heroines, who lost their lives and property during the war, since, according to him, the action would help to draw the attention of the world to the injustices meted to Ndigbo, as an ethnic group.
Achuzia, who spoke on Sunday at All Saints’ Anglican Church Cathedral, Onitsha when a group of persons who identified themselves as patriotic Igbos organised a 90th birthday anniversary for him, contended that the activities for all agitating groups for Biafra should be supported by all true Igbo as such activities were born out as a result of perceived injustice meted to Ndigbo, adding that unless the injustice is corrected, several agitating groups would continue to emerge.
Avoid repression of Biafra day protests—Amnesty International
Also yesterday, Amnesty International advised Nigerian security forces to exercise restraint when policing demonstrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Biafra war, today, to avoid a repetition of the bloodbath caused by their heavy-handed response last year when more than 60 people were gunned down.
Director of the organisation in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, said in a statement that last year’s heavy-handed response against pro-Biafra activists further stirred up tensions in the South-East of Nigeria.
According to him, “the reckless approach to crowd control favoured by the security forces when policing peaceful pro-Biafra protests has left more than 150 dead since August 2015, not to mention cases of enforced disappearance and unlawful detention. We urge the Nigerian security agencies to conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure public order without resorting to force.”
Ohanaeze youths warn FG
Also yesterday, the youth wing of the pan-Igbo socio political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, vowed to hold the Federal Government responsible should anything happen to pro-Biafra agitators.
In a statement signed by the groups’s Deputy National President and the National Secretary, Dr. Arthur Obiora and Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, respectively, the Ohanaeze youths said: “Ndigbo shall hold Osinbajo responsible as the Acting President of Nigeria should anything happen to any of our youths.”
“We shall not take lightly the spilling of the blood of any Igbo man today because these are non-violent agitators and their agitation is protected under every known law.
“As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, is very much aware of the constitutional rights of these agitators and he should therefore not allow himself to be used as an instrument to suppress lawful expression of opinion.”