Thousands of people who support the restoration of the Biafran territories in southeastern Nigeria today defied teh warning by Nigeria security agencies and have taken to the streets of, Bayelsa, Delta State and Anambra state, calling for the release of people, including pro-Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu
Kanu is the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) and is the director of the London-based radio station Radio Biafra, which the Nigerian government has deemed illegal. He was arrested early in October in Lagos and, according to the Nigeria’s state-security service (DSS).
Elombah.com learnt two persons were shot dead while commercial and other activities were Friday grounded in Onitsha the commercial city of Anambra state and its environs by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB who were protesting the continued detention of their leader.
Many pro-Biafrans are angry that Kanu is still being detained by the DSS despite the fact that bail had been issued by the Magistrate Court in Abuja.
Following intelligence reports available to security agencies showing that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have concluded modalities to embark on the violent protest in parts of the country to drive home their agitation, Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase had advised organizers of the planned violent match to desist from such.
The IGP warned that failure of the group to heed his advice will be met with all lawful action by the police to ensure peace and security in any part of the country insisting that the law on ban on unlawful possession of illegal fire-arms is still in place.
But reports from the south east today indicate vehicular movements were disrupted along the Onitsha Enugu Expressway, Onitsha Owerri Road, Uga Atani Ogaru Local Government Road, Onitsha Aguleri, Nsugbe, Nkwelle Ezunaka Roads, Old and New Market Roads, Nkpor, Ogidi, Obosi Roads, thereby causing traffic gridlocks on all the roads within and outside Onitsha.
Markets in Onitsha and its environs were all shot between 7am to about 2.30pm when some traders were seen loitering around their markets to see if they will be allowed to open, while some decided to go home for the day as they were also afraid that they may be attacked.
Although the Anambra State Government had announced through the market leaders who also exchanged text messages to ensure that their markets were open but the traders seemed to be unwilling to go to their markets as most of them who normally leave in the morning for their markets were sighted on their streets discussing the protest which IPOB declared earlier in the week they will embark on.
Onitsha Main Market, Ochanja Central Market Onitsha, New Tire Market Nkpor, New Auto Spare Parts Market Nkpor, Building Materials Market Ogidi, Ugwuagba Market Obosi, Electronics Market Onitsha, Bridge Head Market Onitsha that has over 21 markets attached to it and other small markets in and outside Onitsha, were all shut down.
Even shop along the streets of Onitsha, and its environs, including Awka Road, New Market Road, Old Market Road, Oguta Road, Limca Road, Iweka Road and Modebe Road, DSokoto Road and Haruna Street lock up shops were also seen under lock and keys.
The IPOB members numbering over 30,000 were earlier seen gathered at Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu Statue by Niger Bridge Head, also known as Odumegwu Ojukwu Gateway, Niger Bridge Head Onitsha chanting and dancing Pro Ojukwu and Biafran songs, from where they marched peacefully to down to Upper Iweka Flyover.
They were seen marching from Upper Iweka Flyover to Onitsha Owerri Road, to Nkpor Junction, Ochanja Central Market, Onitsha Main Market, Old and New Market Roads Onitsha, chanting anti Federal Government, Police, Army and Navy songs, demanding the release of Mr. Kanu, whom they said is being incarcerated for over three weeks now, and the continued arrest and detention of their members and actualization of Biafra activists.
There was unusual presence of the police on the major roads and streets of Onitsha, but their presence did not deter the protesting IPOB members who were also cautious of the behavior of their members to the road users and petty traders who wanted to cash in on the closure of markets and big stores and shops to do brisk business.
IPOB members who wanted to be unruly on the road users were promptly shouted on and cautioned by their leaders to behave well, that molestation and dispossessing people of their property and goods, looting of people’s shops and property was not part of their agenda.
The protest was largely peaceful as there were no information of any clash between the Police and the protesting IPOB members, until around 2.30 pm when Vanguard gathered that one person was shot at the Ochanja Roundabout by the police.
Yesterday the Police through the Force Public Relations Officer, Acting ACP Olabisi Kolawole, Arase said, “Information available to the Nigeria Police indicates plans by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to embark on ill-advised protest using dangerous weapon across some South Eastern States.
“The Nigeria Police Force reminds the brains behind this security threat that the law prohibiting the unlawful possession of firearms is still in-force.
“Therefore any attempt to unleash mayhem on innocent and law abiding Nigerians under any guise by this group will be met with stiff resistance from the Police and other security agencies, the actors will be brought to justice in line with extant criminal laws.
“Citizens in the South-Eastern States are hereby assured of adequate protection, as appropriate Police deployment has been emplaced to deal decisively with any group or persons who might be bent on breaching public peace and threatening national security.”