Friday, August 12, 2016

Jubilation in Aba as FG frees detained Biafra agitators

Members of the In­digenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) on Thursday cel­ebrated the Federal Govern­ment’s release of the detained supporters of the group in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia State.

The IPOB, which confirmed the release of the pro-Biafra ag­itators, hailed the Federal Gov­ernment for listening to its pleas to free the detainees.
Men of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police had last February invaded a primary school in Aba when the IPOB members were holding a prayer meeting and arrested scores of them.
While the group claimed that the security agents killed 22 of its members and arrested over 50 others, the police put the death toll at only two. They were silent on the number of IPOB members detained dur­ing the raid.

In a statement where it con­firmed the government’s release of the agitators, the pro-Biafra group commended the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), for respecting the rights of the detainees by setting them free.
The IPOB Director of Media and Publicity, Mr. Emma Power­ful, signed the IPOB statement, which The AUTHORITY ob­tained in Onitsha, Anambra State.
He said that “IPOB World­wide under the leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu commends the At­torney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abuba­kar Mallami (SAN) for freeing all those arrested in Aba.”
He appealed to the govern­ment to extend the measure to Kanu and all detained IPOB members because “our quest is the restoration of Biafra and not to take over the leadership of Ni­geria.”
IPOB asked the Attorney-General to specifically direct that pro-Biafra agitators still in dif­ferent prisons and security cells across the country be released.

It also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu without any con­dition.
Powerful explained that the IPOB is a liberation movement dedicated to the self-determina­tion of the indigenous peoples of Biafra in line with universal­ly acclaimed processes and pro­cedures. It added that having launched ‘Biafrexit’, IPOB was committed to pursuing a refer­endum to resolve the issue of the sovereignty of Biafra.
“The same way the British government of David Camer­on allowed the Scottish nation to freely choose if they want to be part of the United Kingdom (UK) or not and most recently Brexit that culminated in the removal of Britain from the European Un­ion (EU), we (IPOB) will contin­ue to demand the civilised world to prevail upon Buhari to allow Biafrans to freely choose where they wish to belong.”
He said that the issue of Bi­afra’s self-determination could not be swept under the carpet because Biafra is in black Africa where acceptable civilised stand­ards are lacking, adding that, “what is good for Scotland and Britain at large is also good for Biafra.
“We therefore urge the AGF to continue on this path by releas­ing all Biafra detainees including the leader of IPOB Worldwide, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu whose con­tinued illegal detention is the pri­mary reason why Nigeria is fall­ing apart today.
“Buhari’s government under­estimated the strength of IPOB and the appeal of Kanu’s message which continues to gain ground on a daily basis around the whole world. Events have vindicated the stance of IPOB because numer­ous nationalities are now crying out for freedom,” the statement said.
Last February, the police and soldiers had swooped on pro-Bi­afra agitators in Aba and alleged­ly killed 22 of them. But the po­lice said that they found only 2 bodies.
The Public Relations Of­ficer of Abia State Police Com­mand, Onyeke Udeviotu, had said that the deceased were killed when members of the pro-Biafra groups resisted the arrest of their leaders by soldiers who stormed the prayer ground.

He had told journalists that “some of our men that were on convoy patrol got information that the pro-Biafra groups were harassing the students.
“Then the Aba Area Com­mander, Mr. Peter Wabara, or­dered the policemen on ground to go there and make mem­bers of the pro-Biafra groups to leave the place as the school was in session and if they had want­ed to hold their meeting, they should have found another place to avoid any form of disturbance in the schools.

“So when the police entered the place they found that the pro-Biafran groups were relatively calm so the police took positions to ensure that they did not do any harm. Police was only there to en­sure they did not come to cause breakdown of law and order on the streets.
“Just as the police were try­ing to persuade them to leave the place, the military drove in and arrested five of their members, but the group members blocked the way of the military person­nel. That was when they started shooting at them.
“When the police were leav­ing the place, they picked two dead persons from the ground and arrested 20 others while one who was injured was taken to the hospital,” he said.

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