Tension is building up in the southeast states following tomorrow’s sit at home order called by Biafra agitators to honour its members who lost their lives in the struggle for a sovereign state of Biafra.
Since Saturday, the presence of security officials has increased in various parts of the region. Checks by The Guardian showed that armoured carrier tanks have been manned by battle ready security officials as well as increased security check points in some strategic locations like Okigwe junction in Imo State and around army formations.
Also, the Police surveillance helicopters have increased air patrol. Many schools in the zone, especially private schools have already declared Tuesday a school-free day. Some of the schools, which are on mid-term break , have extended their resumption till Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the army yesterday confirmed increase in patrol across the southeast zone. Army Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, Col. Sagir Musa said, “the aim was to proactively checkmate possible security breaches.”
But the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) yesterday described the unlawful and unwarranted arrest of Biafra agitators in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State as puerile and insisted that the May 30, 2017 sit at home order to all Igbo to mark of 50th year anniversary of Biafra as declared by the late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu in 1967 would hold.
However, the Ebonyi chapter of the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) led by John Nwaifuru has disassociated itself from the planned sit-at- home exercise, noting that it was unlawful to force people to do so.
A statement by MASSOB’s National Secretary, Ugwuoke Ibem Ugwuoke in Abakaliki said MASSOB had through its leader, Uchenna Madu earlier sensitized and announced the sit-at-home order to commemorate the 50th year anniversary of Ojukwu’s declaration of Biafra.
The command spokesman, DSP Jude Madu said it has put necessary machineries in place to ensure the safety of the people. In a related development, the South-East Revival Group (SERG) and the Coalition of Eastern Human Rights and Pro-Democracy Activists (CEHRAPA) have expressed their support for the proposed commemoration of the fallen Biafran heroes.
A statement by its National Coordinator, Willy Ezeugwu yesterday said after deliberations on the contents of the statements, the group condemned threats by the Nigerian Police to clampdown on peaceful agitators.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa yesterday condemned the police for arresting supporters of Biafra over the proposed sit-at-home protest ahead of May 30.
He stressed that the arrests and threats to arrest more pro-Biafra activists by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration smacked of dictatorship in a democratic setting.
He said the right to self- determination is guaranteed under Article 20 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Nigeria was a signatory. It is also recognized by the United Nations.