Pro-Biafra activists’ ‘free-Kanu’ protests spread to Enugu
We’ve no reason to arrest any protester yet, say police
BARELY 24 hours after more than 10,000 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) stormed Awka, the capital city of Anambra State in protest against the detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, scores of pro-Biafra activists yesterday continued on the streets of Enugu State.
When contacted, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Enugu, Ebere Amaraizu, admitted that the protest was peaceful, adding that the police had no reason to arrest any member of the group.
The director of the controversial Radio Biafra was, upon his visit to Nigeria, arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) at a Lagos hotel and has since been in secret detention, although there were reports that he had been granted bail.
Brandishing Biafran flags, the youths marched through major streets of the coal city chanting anti-government slogans and declaring their opposition to the continued incarceration of the IPOB leader. Demanding urgent recognition of the Sovereign State of Biafra, they insisted that nothing short of Kanu’s release would assuage their anger.
PPRO in Anambra State, Ali Okechukwu, had described Saturday’s protests by IPOB members as ‘generally peaceful’, saying that more than 10,000 of the youths had marched from Asaba through Onitsha to Awka to register their protest against the continued incarceration of Kanu without any charges. Okechukwu, however, explained that the police had kept contant watch to ensure that the peaceful protest did not degenerate into chaos.
The peaceful protests caused blockades on major roads within the Enugu
Metropolis yesterday, as members of the movement defied police presence and other security agencies’ to move round the city.
But strategic junctions with the state capital were manned by the
police, apparently to ward off any eventuality, while the entrances to the 82 Division of the Army Headquarters and the Artillery on Agbani Road were blocked by soldiers, thus causing more hardships for residents using the roads.
Some residents who were already on their way to different churches for Sunday worship within Agbani Road, New haven, Gariki, Coal camp and
Abakpa had hard time maneuvering through the crowd of protesters, who had besieged the major streets as early as 7.00am.
One of the mobilisers, who gave his name as Chibuzo Okoli, a member of the IPOB told The Guardian that they were demanding the independent State of Biafra to gain their freedom from orchestrated marginalisation of the people of Eastern region that constitute the bulk of the Biafran Nation.
He said the protest was not against President Muhammadu Buhari, but a call on him for the unconditional release of Kanu among other pro-Biafra members held in various prisons.
Director of Information for the Movement for the Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Uchenna Madu, in a text message to The Guardian, said, “We are in full support of the ongoing massive demonstration against the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu by the DSS.
“Our factional members are part of the ground-breaking protest and will continue with IPOB till our demand for Nnamdi Kanu’s release is achieved. For the sake of Biafra love for our fatherland and the spirit of brotherhood, MASSOB shall continue to identify with genuine, selfless Biafra agitation as showcased with Nnamdi Kanu.
“We warn the Federal Government to immediately release Nnamdi now or before Wednesday or face a severe action that will bring Nigeria to her knees. Ndigbo, South-South geopolitical zone are wiser, united and hungry for Biafra now. Only some few disgruntled elements and Abuja errand boys from eastern region are always against Biafra.
“MASSOB shall hold Igbo governors, National Assembly members, traditional rulers and opinion leaders responsible if Nnamdi Kanu is not released in the coming week. Continued detention of Nnamdi will worsen the already fragile security situation in Nigeria. MASSOB, IPOB and other genuine groups are now ready to unleash the potency of non violence which includes civil disobedience, civil unrest, non cooperation, massive boycott, as was done during the emancipation struggle of Ghandi of India and Martin Luther King Jnr.”