The Enugu State Police command says it has arrested about eleven members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other pro-Biafra group in the State following the disruption of a pro-restructuring summit convened by the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, in Enugu on Tuesday.
The pro-Biafra group made up of IPOB, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, the Biafra Zionists Federation, BZF, among several others, forced the event to an abrupt end.
It was gathered that the agitators got annoyed when issues of restructuring of Nigeria took the centre stage instead of their clamour for Biafra.
The event was also expected to have been used to honour late Owelle Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi and a host of others.
It was learnt that police confronted the agitators who had stormed Enugu in their numbers, with Biafra flags and arrested after they disrupted the event.
Some persons, including journalists were attacked in the ensuing confusion, leading to hurried end of the event.
Convener of the event, Comrade Eliot Ugochukwu-Uko, who confirmed that he abruptly ended the event owing to the charged atmosphere created by the Biafra agitators, fingered the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo over the incident.
Uko told journalists that “initially, I didn’t want pro-Biafra groups to be at the event; but Uchenna Madu called me and enquired whether they should come. I said no; Nnamdi Kanu’s group also called me, I’m friendly with them, because I have never openly attacked them. I didn’t want them to come.
“But later, I spoke to one of the Igbo elders, he said, let them come; the more the merrier; let them come and see what we are doing. Three days to the event, I agreed that they should come.
“So, when the event started today, I was acknowledging various groups, they wrote note passed to me that Biafra Zionists are here in their numbers, that I should acknowledge them; I said they should patient.
“The genesis is that the Ohanaeze President, Chief Nnia Nwodo wanted to be here too, but I said no; so, I was aware that they will set traps for me. He even asked Ayo Adebanjo to call me, but I said no, that he is in dispute with these children and I don’t want to be joined in their issues.
“Nnia Nwodo called me again, I went to his house with Maria Okwor; he requested that I should bring these boys to him so that he can reconcile with them, that they are insulting him so much. I told him that I don’t want to get involved. He promised to do a lot for me, I said no, that I want to continue doing my own things.
“So, I’m aware that Nwodo is not happy with me because I said he should not attend the event; therefore, they will set traps for me.
“These are the same people who were insulting me over 20 years ago when I started championing the issue of restructuring; but today, every group or the other has one committee on restructuring; so, I’m no longer a mad man.
“All over the world, they know me as an apostle of restructuring, but in the earlier days, I was called a mad man.
“So, I was expectant that they were planning for me today; when Uchenna Madu was mounting pressure on me that they want to come, I was curious.
“Now, today, like I said, they demanded that they should be given opportunity to talk; I was reluctant because I didn’t know what they will say. While issues of restructuring were being discussed, they started interrupting, that they want Biafra not restructuring; I said, ok, so this is what they want to say in my event.
“The next thing was that they started asking, ‘where is Nnamdi Kanu’, that he is their leader, that their leader should be here. I knew that I had problem in my hand. They now started noise, security asked them to leave the hall, they refused. They started asking me where is their leader, asking me whether he was dead. I asked them whether I was the one that took their leader.
“So, I had to dismiss the event, because I did not want to have fracas here or a situation where someone will hijack my event.”
While denying inviting the police, he said those responsible for the invitation were behind the mask, stressing that “I don’t know whether anyone was shot; police did not come into the venue of my event; so, whatever happened outside town, I don’t know about it.”
The Enugu State Police Command’s Police Public Relations’ Officer, PPRO, SP Ebere Amaraizu, while confirming the incident said eleven members of the pro-Biafra group were arrested.
Amaraizu in a statement made available to journalists said, “no fewer than eleven persons suspected to be members of the outlawed Biafran group were nabbed by the Enugu State police command operatives today 27/2/12 in the morning around Universal hotel axis of the Independent layout Enugu.
“They were nabbed based on intelligence information gathered which guided the operatives on the successful operations carried out.
“Those arrested are helping the operatives in their investigations in relation to their alleged nefarious activities and will be arraigned properly in a law court after investigations are concluded.”
He enjoined members of the public in the State “to be law abiding, security conscious and also partner with the police to ensure that the state continues to maintain the tempo of being safest and secured.”