• No going back on tomorrow’s lockdown, Biafra group vows
• Army threatens to deal with ‘misguided elements’
• Police, youths clash in Anambra, two killed
States in the southeast geopolitical zones will tomorrow experience a total, partial or no lockdown at all, depending on who gains the upper hand in a showdown between security agencies and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The secessionist group had ordered people in the region to observe a sit-at-home tomorrow in protest against an alleged suppression by the Federal Government.
But the Army, Police, Air Force, Civil Defence Corps and operatives of the Department of State Services responded yesterday with a show of force and a pledge to deal with any member of the group who breaches the peace.
In Umuahia, the Abia State capital, a heavily armed detachment took off from the Central Police Station (CPS) in a long motorcade and drove through Garki to Ossah Road-Michael Okpara Square. It proceeded to Abia Tower (Expressway) and then returned to CPS through Bank Road-Afara-Umuahia (Nnamdi Kanu’s village) and Aba Road.
Another joint patrol also traversed the streets of Enugu, Enugu State, assuring residents that any intimidation by IPOB would be crushed.
“With this exercise, we are clearly sounding a note of warning to troublemakers to steer clear of the entire southeast and other places under 82 Division Areas of Responsibility. We want the existing peace in the southeast to continue unhindered. We will not fold our arms, as members of the security community in this state and the entire southeast, and watch some misguided individuals or groups molest and intimidate innocent and law-abiding citizens,” said Major General Emmanuel Kabuk, General Officer Commanding 82 Division of the Nigeria Army, Enugu.
Addressing journalists at the end of the Umuahia exercise, Commissioner of Police Anthony Ogbizi, said: “Our coming together is a signal of our resolve to confront any event that may rear its ugly head before, during and after September 14. The Federal Government has proscribed IPOB and there are many laws in place. The group should not dare the law because we shall apply the rules of engagement in dealing with it.”
But IPOB dismissed the patrols as “laughable”, saying it has set up a “compliance unit” to ensure no one flouts its directive.
A statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, reads: “Any person or persons found outside on September 14, 2018 will be recorded as an enemy of Biafra and dealt with accordingly. Such person or persons, along with their families, will face the eternal wrath and consequences of their actions. This IPOB generation will not forgive any act of treachery capable of derailing our march to freedom.
“Lest we forget why we must sit at home on the 14th, there is the need to constantly remind ourselves that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu (IPOB leader), the only man brave enough to confront the Fulani caliphate’s expansionist tendencies; the man who sacrificed everything we all hold dear, in order to liberate us from bondage, is still missing.
“Are we going to forget so soon that our wives, mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers were shamefully humiliated by a northern Fulani police commissioner in Owerri only a few weeks ago? No governor or socio-cultural leader rose up to that occasion to condemn the abominable and sacrilegious incarceration. Instead, these shameless men we call governors have decided to hand over their states to Fulani military and police commanders to do their dirty jobs for them.”
IPOB added: “Some of those killed during Operation Python Dance II, last year, are yet to be properly identified and buried. But here we are again, confronted by another Operation Python Dance. Mass graves litter Biafraland that require urgent international investigation, another reason why we must sit at home.
“Those we regard as political leaders have turned to collaborators and agents of the oppressor. Some of them have publicly boasted that they will sabotage Biafra again, as they did in the past. To correct all these anomalies in our land, we must sit at home on Friday, September 14, to send a clear unmistakable message that Biafra cannot be subdued.”
Meanwhile, some youths reportedly invaded a police station in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State yesterday. The youths were said to be protesting against the death of a motorcyclist while allegedly trying to evade arrest by the police.
One person was killed during the incident.
Police spokesman, Haruna Mohammed, said the situation has been brought under control.
In another development, a group, Igbo Ekunie Initiative, decried the Federal Government’s launch of operation Python Dance III, a security outfit, in the southeast, saying past activities by the body have been tainted by killings, extortion and humiliation of the region’s people.