By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA—Pandemonium erupted on Sunday at Anaku community, headquarters of Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State, following alleged invasion of the secretariat of members of Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB by a combined team of policemen and Anambra Vigilante Service, AVS, Anaku unit.
The team, numbering about 30 and drafted from the Ayamelum Divisional Police headquarters, Anaku raided the secretariat belonging to MASSOB and Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, in the area.
In a press statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Onitsha, Nzekwe alleged that the policemen who arrived the secretariat in a convoy of about four Hilux vans, had stormed its meeting venue at about 1 p.m., opened fire on the members and threw tear gas canisters on them in their bid to disperse the crowded secretariat which he said was filled to capacity.
He said: “The team was led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, for Ayamelum, Supol Okwor and chairman AVS, Mr. Mmaduechi Oranyelu who instructed his men to collect all the plastic chairs, tables, flags, money, cement and register,” adding that “in the process, most of their members equally lost their GSM handsets and cash to the police, while scampering for their safety.
“Some of the items collected by the police are 317 plastic chairs valued at N634,000 and 20 bags of Dangote cement valued at N50,000.”
He identified two of their members who sustained bullet wounds in their legs as Mr. Jude Osiagugo and John Udekwe.
Nzekwe also alleged that the team “snatched the sum of N700,000 being the amount realised from contributions and levies from the seven regional administrators in Anambra North for the on-going secretariat building project.”
Uwazuruike condemns attack
Reacting to the development, leader of Biafra Independence Movement and founder of Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, BIM/MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike who vehemently condemned the attack, wondered why such an ugly treatment was meted on MASSOB members despite their non-violent posture in the agitation.
Uwazuruike who spoke through a member of Biafra Elders-in- Council, Mazi Chris Mocha at a meeting held in Obegu community in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, contended that the police action on its members was against democratic principles.
He therefore urged his followers “not to give up because of police brutality,” adding that his group had remained non-violent for about 19 years now and there was no record where MASSOB or BIM members retaliated attacks from the police which was a good demonstration of its avowed principles.
“I call on the police authorities in Anambra State to effect the release of the 317 plastic chairs and other valuables to my men,” he stated.
All efforts to reach the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mrs. Nkiru Nwode proved abortive as her phone could not be connected after several attempts.
The Police Area Commander for Onitsha, Abubakar Yahaya however, told newsmen on phone yesterday that Anaku is now under the newly created Otuocha Police Area Command and no longer Onitsha Area Command where it was few months ago before the creation of Otuocha command.