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May 30 Sit-at-home order: Tension as Police, IPOB, MASSOB renew offensive

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Palpable tension is building in the South East region ahead of the May 30 sit- at home order declared by the pro Biafra agitators as the police and members of the groups yesterday engaged in hot exchange of words over the plan.  The  police have  in strong terms warned the agitators comprising the proscribed indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB  and the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to rescind the decision to go ahead with the sit- at home order but the agitators, yesterday replied that nothing would make them go back on the directive.

Following the renewed offensive between the police and the agitators, residents in different parts of the region  during he week engaged panic buying of food items. Some of them who spoke with The Nation said they were doing so to avoid starving to death if the faceoff between the police and the agitators escalates.

The Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mustapha Dandaura, unequivocally warned the group to desist from its plan or face the wrath of the command and it’s allied forces. The state Police Public Relation’s Officer ,Mr Mohammed Haruna, who had continued to issue statements on-behalf of the command, said the police in collaboration with the Joint Task Force JTF, had made adequate arrangements in making sure that residents were not harassed or intimidated on the said date, warning that the command would deal decisively with any miscreants parading as agitators.

Haruna said some unscrupulous elements had been secretly moving to some locations in the state trying to hoist unauthorized flags without permission, adding that the command would not fold it’s arms to allow hoodlums invade the state in the name of sit -at -home by faceless people. Police patrol teams ,had already been deployed and they had been patrolling the streets of Onitsha, Awka, Ekwulobia, Nnewi and other flash points in the State. The PPRO said some of the items recovered from the miscreants so far arrested included  many Biafran flags  and other things with Biafran inscriptions. According to the command, ”  recall that the so called (IPOB) is still a proscribed organisation and all its activities remain illegal” “Therefore the command will not relent in it’s efforts of enforcing law and order in the state.”

Many  police commands in the region had earlier issued similar warnings. Despite the stern warning by the police,  IPOB, said it was not leaving any stone unturned in making sure that Biafrans would remain indoors on May 30 IPOB’s statement was issued in Awka by it’s Media and Publicity Secretary , Emma Powerful and made available to reporters The sit -at -home according to him, was to remember those killed during the war and others recently killed by security operatives and not to cause any trouble as being alleged by the police. In a statement by its leader, Uche Madu, MASSOB said: “A coalition of pro Biafran groups which agreed to speak with one voice in one accord with unity of purposes met and insisted on our earlier resolutions that the annual May 30th celebration of the Bi afran people will hold this year in a unique formula.

Disturbed by the tension currently building up in the south east region, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide in a statement signed by the President General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said: “We are disturbed by the negative news on the killings of MASSOB and IPOB  members in Anambra State. Few days to the May 30 sit –at- home order, scores of young people have been recorded  dead with many injured innocent youths hospitalized. Over 33 youths were arrested in Nsukka and more casualties could be recorded on the remembrance day.

“The Southeast governors should as a matter of urgency rise up to the occasion and ensure that their primary assignment which is to protect lives and property of the citizens is carried out. “Many of them (except Anambra governor) will be taking a new oath of office on May 29.  They should not pretend that all is well and allow bloodshed to occur in Igboland as armed herdsmen and bandits are currently doing in the north.

We aware of the plot to unleash security agents against the agitators but as a precaution and preventive measure, the coalition of Biafra agitators should soft pedal as we can’t afford to expose our unemployed and productive youths to untimely deaths.  They should boycott protests, riots, display of Biafra flags and road procession under the guise of Jewish Community or religion. “We are fully aware of the plans of using road procession in Aba, Owerri,Asaba,Warri, Enugu,Onitsha, Afikpo, Abakiliki,Awka and Calabar to protest against the killings of Igbos by bandits in the North. We beg that there should be no reprisal attacks. Rather, they should be ready to dialogue with Southeast governors and the presidency, if there’s any room for that. The Biafra agitators should remember that ‘once beaten, twice shy’.

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