By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—OHANAEZE Youth Council, OYC and Umuahia North Traditional Rulers’ Council, have condemned the arrest and parade of seven Biafra activists, suspected to be members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, who were picked up by the Abia Police Command in a Jewish Synagogue in Aba.
The police alleged that they were holding illegal meeting in the synagogue. But the suspects denied the allegation, insisting that they were only praying in the synagogue when the police arrested them.
While parading the suspects at the Police Officers’ Mess, Abia State Police Commissioner, Mr. Anthony Ogbizi alleged that they were arrested with IPOB and Biafra insignia, pointing out that IPOB remained an outlawed terrorist organisation.
The Police Commissioner also paraded members of Biafra Independent Movement, BIM, whose group is not banned, saying they did something contrary to the law.
However, the action of the Abia Police Command has angered the leadership of Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, who has called for the immediate release of the Biafra agitators, saying they committed no offence to be paraded as criminals.
According to the National President of OYC, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, “the police has no moral justification to arrest peaceful agitators seeking self determination whereas armed herdsmen have continued their killing spree unchecked.”
Isiguzoro urged security agencies to go after the murderous herdsmen who are committing genocide across Nigeria instead of dissipating energy on non violent agitators.
He called on the Inspector General of Police to order the immediate release of the arrested Biafra activists so as not to create unnecessary tension in the South East again.
Traditional rulers condemn arrest
Also, reacting, the chairman of Umuahia North Traditional Rulers’ Council, Eze Philip Ajomiwe condemned the arrest of non-violent agitators in their place of worship, while allowing killer-herdsmen to enjoy a field day, saying it portrays the security agencies as biased.
He said police had no excuse to arrest Biafra agitators unless they were found with arms and called for their release to avoid any tension in Igboland again.
Ajomiwe however, advised IPOB members to stop any activity under the platform until the pending lawsuit against the designation of the group as terror organisation is decided.
In their own reaction, a civil rights group, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development, FENRAD, also condemned the arrest of the Biafra activists, pointing out that such act was capable of generating ethnic tension in the country.
The coordinator of the group, Nnanna Nwafor, called for the release of the activists and advised security agencies to channel their resources on how to contain the herdsmen menace which poses a national threat.