Tension mounted in Ekwulobia, Aguata local government area of Anambra state on Wednesday when members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) were tear gassed by security operatives in the area.
Sources said the incident was sequel to an earlier scheduled visit by the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, to hold a rally at Ekwulobia as part of his campaign to stop the state gubernatorial election fixed for November 18, 2017.
Kanu was said to have held such rally in Onitsha the economic nerve centre of the state and Abakaliki in Ebonyi state even against the opposition from the police.
It was gathered that police in the area had objected to the IPOB rally and had therefore refused to grant any official permit for it or to provide security at the venue.
But as early as 8am yesterday, some members of IPOB and admirers of Nnamdi Kanu from within and outside Ekwulobia
had gathered at a Central School, Ekwulobia waiting for the arrival of Kanu before the Police team stormed there.
An attempt to disperse the crowd was said to have been rebuffed, forcing the police to tear-gas the IPOB members.
There were however, conflicting reports of resultant effect of the tear-gas.
A source said that one person died in the stampede that ensued while the other said that no death was recorded.
Contacted on the incident the Police Public Relation Officer for Anambra state Nkiru Nwode said that there was no death at Ekwulobia.
She said “there was no serious incident at Ekwulobia. What happened was that some people gathered for reasons best known for them and the police and other security agents dispersed them.
“People are just telling stories. Nobody died”.
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu was said to have postponed his visit to Ekwulobia until Sunday this week.
Meanwhile, an Igbo grassroots socio cultural organization, Imeobi Igbo Forum, has vowed that no amount of threat from POB would stop the conduct of November 18, 2017 governorship election in the state.
Speaking through its national chairman, Dr. Mike Ikegulu-Onugh, afer its meeting, the group said that the problem in Igbo land has nothing to do with conduct of election but marginalization in a country that Igbo were part builders.
He urged Nnamdi Kanu, to soft-pedal in his boycott campaign and listen to the voice of reason, adding that such threat would worsen Igbo problem instead of curtailing it.
“We respect Kanu’s enthusiasm and agitation but I don’t know what he has in mind for saying that there will be no election in Anambra state. He should soft-pedal.The referendum he is talking about will come one day and it is not by boycott of election that we will achieve a Biafra republic rather it will worsen our problem,” he said.
Continuing Onugha said “We will constitute a reconciliatory body to help move Igbo nation forward and for those who believe.
This organization has its tentacles in Igbo land and we will screen all the candidates in this election when the time comes to know their antecedents.”