Abia begs pro-Biafra groups to end protests
• Action extends to Umuahia
From Aba, the commercial nerve-centre of Abia State, the pro-Biafra groups yesterday took their protests to the capital city of Umuahia, compelling the state government to send out an olive branch.
Specifically, the Abia State Government called on the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement For the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) to discontinue their protest as their message has been well communicated and their voices heard nationally and internationally.
The Umuahia protest was said to be in line with the decision of the protesters to extend their peaceful march to all parts of the South East protesting the continued detention of the Radio Biafra Director, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who hails from Afara Ukwu in Umuahia North Local Council of the state.
The protesters carried Kanu’s portrait, singing ‘freedom’ songs. The march was devoid of violence, as commercial activities were not disrupted even as markets and shops opened for business.
About 500 of the protesters marched through the streets, as truckloads of strategically positioned armed security men trailed them.
Confirming the protest, the State Police Spokesman Mr. Ezekiel Udeviotu, described it as peaceful, “ no violence and no casualty, while the police maintained the International best practices of Rule of Engagement.”
Udeviotu also confirmed that, following a tip-off, the gallant police officers attached to Okpuala Ngwa Station in Isiala Ngwa North foiled a kidnap attempt early yesterday and shot dead four members of the gang in an ambush.
In a statement, the Abia State Government said “he pro-Biafra groups have made their statement in calling for the release of the Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, and this message has reached the highest places of power. Therefore, they should give peace a chance and wait for the reaction of government.”
Government observed that though the protest has been largely peaceful in Abia State, it actually disturbed the socio-economic life of the state; hence the need for the pro-Biafra groups to change strategy from street marches to peaceful negotiation with the Federal Government.
The government also noted that the entire South East cannot afford another militancy and therefore urged the groups to discontinue their street marches before troublemakers and detractors of government hijack the situation.
The government also commended the security agencies for the high professionalism they have exhibited in handling the protest in Abia State which ensured that the state never recorded any violent incident.