By Vincent Ujumadu & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
Awka—ONE person was feared dead, yesterday, at Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State during a clash between security operatives and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The heavy presence of security operatives, including the police, the army and the navy, made the people wonder what was amiss, until they learned that the IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was scheduled to visit the area.
Several truck loads of security operatives were sighted at Upper Iweka in Onitsha and were said to be heading to Ekwulobia for reinforcement.
Despite the heavy presence of security operatives, the IPOB members were still seen parading major roads in the area, singing and waving Biafra flags.
An eye witness said security men confiscated the Biafran flags, caps, shirts and other items being sold by the youths, which apparently angered the IPOB members, who allegedly tried to attack the security operatives.
It was at this point, the eye witness said, the police used teargas to disperse them, adding that it was the stampede that led to the death of one person.
Though the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mrs. Nkeiru Nwode, denied the death of any IPOB member, she confirmed that there was presence of security in the area, which was to avoid breach of peace.
She said: “The presence of the security men was to secure the place from being attacked by hoodlums. People should not take laws into their hands; the security operatives in Anambra are working day and night to secure the environment and are not ready to allow miscreants take over the society.”
While urging the people to go about their normal businesses as Anambra was secure, she insisted that security operatives would not hesitate to deal with anybody or group that tried to cause trouble.
Apparently due to the problem, Kanu was not seen in the area as at 4.00 pm, even as the security men were still patrolling the area.
Vanguard recalls that it was at the same Ekwulobia that suspected IPOB members tried to disrupt church service while Governor Willie Obiano was worshipping at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in the area.
Kanu’ll return to Ekwulobia on Sunday—IPOB
Reacting to the clash at Ekwulobia, IPOB described the action as a brutal murder.
A statement by the IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Emma Powerful, said the police officers in Anambra State were acting on the orders of the Inspector General of Police.
It said despite the intimidation, IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, would be at Ekwulobia on Sunday to condole with the family of yesterday’s victim.
He said: “The now seemingly regular deployment of a certain kind of Nigeria Police in Biafranland, especially in Anambra State since the announcement of election boycott in Biafranland starting from the gubernatorial election come November 18 this year is becoming alarming.
”IPOB intelligence unit discovered that those posted to Nigerian Army and Police formations all over Biafranland were ordered to kill as many civilians as possible in the hope of causing chaos in the country.
“We want to alert Biafrans, men and women of good conscience across the globe that the Federal Government of Nigeria has decided to kill yet another innocent person in Anambra State, in the name of holy war against IPOB.
“It has been reliably gathered also that Hausa- Fulani settlements in Biafraland are awash with police and army uniforms, which makes it possible for Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists to kill with impunity.
“There is a disproportionate number of Hausa-Fulani police and army officers in Anambra State and other parts of Biafranland who were posted on a mission to kill innocent Biafrans.
“The order to shoot at innocent Biafrans in Ekwulobia today (yesterday) came from authorities in Abuja because there is no justification for the barbaric savagery frequently exhibited by the army and police in Nigeria against the Ekwulobia incident.
“The entire police and army personnel in Anambra State today are now staffed and manned by exclusively handpicked by Inspector General of Police and Chief of Army staff.
“We are also aware that the new terrorists group posted to Anambra State with the Police and Army uniforms by Nigeria Government is sent to terrorize Biafran population in the hope of intimidating us into silence.