*CP: We can no longer tolerate this
By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka- THE insistence by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, that there would be no election in Anambra State in November this year, took a dangerous dimension Sunday with some youths suspected to be members of IPOB storming St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ekwulobia in Aguata local government area, where Governor Willie Obiano was worshipping and tried to disrupt the service.
An eye witness told Vanguard that the governor had hardly settled down in the church when some youths, including women, who adorned Biafra dresses and waving Biafra flags, besieged the gate of the church, chanting Biafra songs and shouting, “No election in Anambra State “, “We want referendum”, and “No referendum, no election”.
It was gathered that as they forced their way through the gate, the governor’s security men promptly locked up the entrance.
A worshipper at the church said: “As these IPOB members continued their confrontation with the police, their numbers continued to increase. I think they were reinforcing from Onitsha and before we knew what was happening, the area was full of IPOB people.”
However, a member of the governor’s press crew said the governor was not disturbed in any way, adding that despite the presence of the IPOB youths outside the church, he still addressed the congregation towards the end of the service and stayed till the end.
He said: “It is not true that the governor was smuggled out of the church. What happened was that the security men had to stop the agitators at the gate of the church when they started shouting “no election, no election.
“The governor even addressed the issue while speaking to the congregation by assuring Anambra people that there will be election in the state in November.
” He said nobody can stop election in the state and observed that most of the anti- election protesters are not from Anambra State.”
The Anambra State Police Commissioner Mr. Garba Umar who confirmed the incident, warned that the police would no longer tolerate such impunity.
He, however said the intention of the protesters was not to attack the governor.
He said: “You, press people should report this and that is that we will no longer tolerate this impunity from anybody.
“Why should they protest to the church? The church is a place of worship and not a place of protest. It is obvious that they had criminal intention to attack the governor.
” The police had to stop them at the gate. If they had dared my men; it would have been a different story. We can’t watch anybody breach public peace in this state. They should be warned to desist from this impunity”.
About two weeks ago, a group of youths suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra had allegedly disrupted a church function attended by the governorship candidate of the Progressives Peoples Alliance, Mr. Godwin Ezeemo.
The conflict happened at Odoekpe, Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state.
IPOB had severally maintained that it would not allow the the November 18 poll in the state, unless the Federal Government allowed a referendum to determine a sovereign state for Biafra.
It said Anambra State as the flagship of Igbo held a strategic position in the Biafra struggle that any mistake made in handling Anambra affair in the Biafra cause would have a ripple effect.