Ebonyi Govt Warns Residents Against IPOB… 70-year-old, 14 Others Arrested
By Oginyi Ruth
Ebonyi State government has warned members of the public against further participation in the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
In a statement jointly signed by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Kenneth Ugbala and the state Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Mr. Kenneth Uhuo on Monday, the government advised parents and guardians not to allow their children and wards to engage in any unauthorized gatherings as security agencies have been mobilized to deal with any individual or group found to be involved in any unlawful gathering in the state.
The statement noted that dialogue with the Federal Government will address all grievances of the Igbo in the country, adding that any individual or group that has any genuine reason to make any demand should go through the Southeast Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and other legitimate means within the country.
Residents of the state were warned to avoid associating themselves with the group.
The statement said, “The attention of the general public is hereby drawn to a federal high court order, which proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) since September 2017 and classified it as a terrorist organization in Nigeria.”
“By that order, the IPOB has become an unlawful organization, and all its activities become criminal within the provisions of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011.”
“Members of the public are therefore warned that any participation in the activities of the organization, under whatever guise has become an offense punishable under various laws of the country. As a responsible government, committed to maintaining law and order, the state government is not going to allow IPOB to endanger lives and property of their citizens, by organizing any form of activity in the state.”
“Any individual or group that has any genuine reason to agitate should do so through the platforms of the Southeast Governors Forum, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and through other legitimate means within the Nigerian federation.”
“The Ebonyi state government reiterates its belief that constructive engagement with the Federal Government shall gradually address all grievances of the Igbos in Nigeria.”
“Traditional rulers and Town Union leaders should be vigilant, and not hesitate to report to security agencies every suspicious movement in their domains.”
Recall that members of the group under their religious group fortnight ago organized a protest in Abakaliki against the suspended proposed RUGA settlement for herdsmen, rape and other policies of Federal Government.
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State Police Command has arrested a 70 years old man, Ogonna Nnachi alongside other 14 members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra.
They were arrested in a bush in Amasiri Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on Tuesday while planning on how to hold their 2019 convention which was slated for 13 and 14th of August respectively.
It was gathered that the arrested members of the proscribed group were also planning on how to bury their member who died in Lagos and will be buried over the weekend while they proceed to Owerri where they would build a monument in respect of late Biafran warlord Odmuegwu Ojukwu.
Consequently, the police are now combing every nook and cranny of the state to arrest more.
A statement from the office of the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Odah Loveth said that 15 persons were arrested and Biafra currency (2 pounds), branded Biafra T-Shirts, caps and bangles were recovered from them.
“Inactive collaboration with other security agencies in the State, while acting on credible intelligence report that IPOB/MASSOB/BIM members will have their 2019 convention in the State, on 13 and 14 August 2019, embarked on massive “show of Force” covering the entire length and breadth of the State with particular focus on identified flashpoints.
“The exercise dominated the entire State and frustrated the activities of IPOB/MASSOB/BIM members thereby denying them the opportunity to hold their meeting in the pre-arranged venue.
They were however traced to a hideout in the bush around Amasiri Afikpo North L.G.A of the State where Fifteen (15) members led by one REV. OGONNA NNACHI ‘M’ about 70yrs of age were arrested.
“Items recovered from them include Biafra Currency (2 pounds), Branded Biafra T-Shirts, Caps and bangles. Upon interrogation, their leader Rev. Ogonna narrated that they were planning the burial of one of their members who died in Lagos but to be buried in Ohoazara L.G.A of the State and also planning the building of a monument in Honor of Late ODUMEGWU OJUKWU at Owerri Imo State.
“The arrested members were handed over to SCID for further interrogation and profiling.
“Ebonyi State Police Command will continue to explore all crime-fighting tactics by combing all hideouts of criminals/criminal-minded persons with the view to deny them the space to carry out their acts.
“The general public is as usual enjoined to assist the Police and other security agencies by providing credible information on any suspicious activity and movements of persons or goods.