Four members of the indigenous people of Biafra IPOB were reportedly killed by Nigerian Army and over 20 protesters injured as they run for safety yesterday when the proposed peaceful protest by IPOB took a violent turn at Onitsha Anambra State.
The continued protest, which began since Tuesday at the Bridge Head, Onitsha, also had the Onitsha Central Mosque razed and vehicles smashed at the provocation of the protesters.
They were protesting for the unconditional release of Radio Biafra Director, Nnamdi, Kanu.
It was reported that IPOB members were killed in the wee hours of yesterday at the Niger Bridge Head-end of Onitsha where they had used as rallying point during the previous day’s protest.
Another victim, a lady, was also allegedly shot dead by the soldiers on patrol at the busy Onitsha/ Owerri Road as she was said to be going on her way while bonfires were made in every strategic point at Onitsha by the IPOB members who were chanting war and liberation songs.
They were said to have resorted to violence when the news of the death of their members filtered into their ears prompting them to smash vehicles and other valuables as they protested the killing along the major roads in Onitsha while barricading the major roads.
All markets, banks and other business activities were grounded to avoid being tempered with by the protesters.
Security operatives, especially the police, were nowhere to be seen and soldiers who were stationed at strategic positions were not touched as they kept on maintaining peace with the irate protesters.
Bonfires were seen at Old and New Market Roads, Ogbommanu Junction, Savoy, Nkpor Junction, Afor-Nkpor, Bridge Head, Oguta Road among others.
Reacting, the IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful, alleged that soldiers killed four of their men at the Bridge Head Market at about 1:30am yesterday without committing any offence.
According to him, “The soldiers came with the police, Civil Defence, DSS and others and attacked our men because we are non-violent body.”
“We will continue the protest in Onitsha tomorrow unless the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, is released by President Muhammadu Buhari who does not want anything good from the Igbo people,” he said.
The Onitsha Military Cantonment spokesperson could not be reached for comments as at the time of filing this report as his mobile phone was switched off.
However, MASSOB yesterday denied being responsible for the Onitsha violence, claiming that some youths being sponsored by the federal government caused the violence.
In a statement made available to journalists in Enugu, acting leader of MASSOB faction, Mr. Uchenna Madu, said: “The setting of Onitsha Central Mosque, vehicles ablaze and making of bonfire, which depict violence, were not done by members of IPOB or MASSOB under my leadership.
“These unwarranted acts of violence are perfected by hoodlums sponsored by agents of the federal government to create impression that we are not non-violent, hence they sponsored violence against us.
“We have been on this peaceful demonstration and protest for over a month without any act of violence. How can we now resort to violence now that we are told that the Presidency is about negotiating with leaders of pro Biafra groups?”
He said the organisation was no longer interested in the peace move by the South-East governors with the killings of their members.
He said: “With today’s killing of our members and injuring many with bullet shots, we are no longer comfortable with the Presidency’s move for dialogue; the dialogue is hypocritical and deceitful.
“Any Igbo group, organisation and persons negotiating or meeting with the Presidency on our behalf without our consent or mandate should stop now.
“MASSOB led by Comrade Uchenna Madu and the IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu have never mandated any person to negotiate for us. Even in this persecution, arrest, killings, clampdown suppression against us by Nigeria government, we shall continue and intensify our non-violent agitation for Biafra.
“For Nigeria to release their armed forces against non-violent and defenceless Biafra agitators shows the wickedness and devilish mind of President Buhari against our people.”
Meanwhile, Niger State branch of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a socio cultural group, has dissociated itself from the ongoing agitation in parts of the country for the actualisation of Biafra nation.
The group said they were living peacefully and harmoniously with their host communities in the state, adding that the Igbos were peace loving people that must be appreciated.
During a courtesy visit on the Correspondents Chapel of Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ), Niger State chapter, in Minna, led by the President, Chief Ezeugo Emmanuel, the group pleaded with the federal government not to use force on the agitators to prevent the situation from deteriorating.
He explained that rather, dialogue should be implored in addressing the situation amicably for sustainable peace.
Emmanuel further stated that it is for this reason that the state chapter of Ndigbo had concluded plans to hold its Summit 2015 in Suleja, slated for 12th December, 2015 with the theme: Udo, Organiru Na Ako N’ Uche (Peace, Progress and Tact).
The summit will be under the chairmanship of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu and a host of other prominent Nigerians.
source : National Mirror
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