Yesterday, more than seven thousand members of both the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), were alleged to have shut down markets and all commercial activities in Nnewi. They extended their protest to the boundary between Asaba and Onitsha. The Asaba-Onitsha siege which has prevented people and goods from entering or leaving both locations has forced the Police Force to issue a warning to the groups to quit trying their patience.
The Police has dished out a sound warning to the individuals deemed to be threatening the security of the country and public peace in parts of South East geopolitical Zone and some other conterminous States in the name of agitating for a separate state through the platforms of Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The warning came about following the observation by the Nigeria Police Force leadership of the rising resort to acts of brigandage by the groups.
According to the Force spokesperson, Bisi Kolawole Arase ,
”The latest manifestation of this threat is the attempt to blockade the Onitsha end of the Niger Bridge on 1st December, 2015, an action that caused major hardship to innocent and law-abiding motorists, and citizens. The act also occasioned serious dislocation of business activities.
He further reminded the agitators of the Mandate of the Nigeria Police to restore peace and order while maintaining the law of the country as well protecting lives. He urged individuals involved to refrain from this act as this not only threatens the peace and public order of the country, but also tests the will of security agencies to restore order and assure internal peace.
”the increasing resort to acts of brigandage of this nature is pointing to a clear attempt by the brains behind these protests to test the will of security agencies to restore order and guarantee internal cohesion.
“For the avoidance of doubts, the IGP further notes the restoration and maintenance of law and public order, and protection of lives and property remain sacred and statutory Mandate of the Nigeria Police.
“This Mandate, according to him, shall be fully executed in the overriding interests of the nation and vast majority of citizens and residents of the South East geopolitical Zone.
“Consequently, the Inspector-General of Police has directed the mobilisation and deployment of Police Mobile Force (PMF) across the country to reinforce security in the State Commands that MASSOB and IPOB are currently attempting to utilise as launching pad for their sinister intentions.
“The Assistant Inspectors General of Police Zone 5, (Benin); Zone 6, (Calabar) and Zone 9 (Umuahia) as well as all Commissioners of Police in the affected States in the South East and neighboring states have also been directed to henceforth maximally exercise their statutory Mandate in relation to prevention and disruption of any gathering that threatens public order and national cohesion.
“Any person or group of persons so arrested in furtherance to the enforcement of this order will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
”To this end, the Inspector-General of Police advises parents and guardians to call their children and wards to order as the patience of the Force is being stretched to the limit. He firmly affirmed that no individual or group interest can override the interest of the nation and that democratic values provide for exploration of rule of law to advance any concern, not the resort to endless and misguided acts of brigandage, unless there is an ulterior motive as the extant instance tends to dictate.
“He concluded by asserting that the Nigeria Police Force will not fold its law enforcement arms to allow few misguided elements to continually force hardships on fellow Nigerians either in the South East or any other part of the nation for that matter.”