The Ebonyi State Police Command, on Wednesday, confirmed the arrest of 15 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
They were arrested at a bush at Amasiri in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday by men of the Nigeria Police and other security agents while allegedly planning to hold their 2019 summit in the state.
The groups’ annual meeting, our correspondent gathered, was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
PUNCH Metro reports that the arrest of members of the separatist groups came 24 hours after the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, insisted that IPOB remained a proscribed organisation and warned residents of the state to shun its activities.
A statement by the command’s spokesperson, Loveth Odah, said, “The Ebonyi State Police Command, in active collaboration with other security agencies in the state, while acting on credible intelligence report that IPOB and MASSOB members would have their 2019 convention in the state, on August 13 and 14, 2019, embarked on a 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 and MASSOB members, thereby denying them the opportunity to hold their meeting in the prearranged venue.
“They were, however, traced to a hideout in the bush around the Amasiri community in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of the state where 15 members, led by one Rev. Ogonna Nnachi, about 70 years of age, were arrested. Items recovered from them include Biafra currency (two pounds), branded Biafra T-shirts, caps and bangles.
“Upon interrogation, their leader, Rev. Ogbonna, narrated that they were planning the burial of one of their members, who died in Lagos but was to be buried in the Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state, and were also planning the building of a monument in honour of the late Odumegwu Ojukwu in Owerri, Imo State. The arrested members were handed over to the SCID for further interrogation and profiling.More in HomePH Disco to storm debtors’ homes with PoS
“The Ebonyi State Police Command will continue to explore all crime fighting tactics by combing all the hideouts of criminals with a view to denying 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 movement of persons or goods.”