…ENOUGH OF THIS PROVOCATION, NDIGBO WARN POLICE
The Nigeria Police yesterday came under severe attack following the unprovoked clampdown on members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and their leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and the attempt to arrest Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu's wife, Bianca, as cross-section of Ndigbo described it as an affront to Igbo race.
Security agents led by the police had on Wednesday swooped on members of MASSOB who gathered at the Presidential Hotel for the award of honour for Ojukwu and other Igbo leaders by the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM) and arrested them just as many others were intercepted on the way to the function and were all detained.
MASSOB leader, Uwazuruike, was said to have been quizzed and detained when he went to the Police Headquarters, Enugu with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh, to inquire why his men were arrested.
But irked by the police action, a cross-section Anambrarians who spoke to Daily Sun said the police and indeed the Federal Government had taken the insult on Ndigbo too far, warning that their docility was not 'act of cowardice but just to allow peace reign in Nigeria.'
They, however, warned that they would 'no longer sit and watch police brutalise, maim and kill their youths under the guise of clamping down on a peaceful body when elsewhere Nigerians were being slaughtered daily by some groups with no serious effort to stop them.'
One of them who gave his name as Chief Chukwudi Ifeanyi said, 'it is high time we told the police and Nigerians that we are not fools and that enough is enough of all these nonsense. How can they be killing our youths, arresting and detaining them for no just cause? We will no longer take that from them, we have preached peace enough. If it is war they want let them be ready kill all of us.'
Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Anambra State Chapter, in condemning police action said, 'we wish to condemn in strongest terms the unwarranted brutality and arrest of MASSOB activists. The action of the law enforcement agents is a great violation of the people's rights to freedom of association, right to peaceful assembly and freedom of movement.
'Though we stand for one Nigeria, MASSOB's quest for self-determination in a non-violent method is also guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) document.' In a statement signed by the state Chairman, Mr. Alloy Attah, CLO further said, 'we call on Mr. President to order for the unconditional release of all the members, apologise to them and compensate for the psychological torture.'
Also condemning police action, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) said, 'we condemn in its entirety and in strongest terms, the unnecessary, unprovoked and ill-conceived clampdown on the MASSOB activists across the country especially in the South-east Nigeria. We dare say that this amounts to internal suppression of an innocuous race and group.'