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Police arrest 137 agitators in Enugu, Ebonyi and Cross River states

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No less than 137 pro-Biafra agitators arrested on Monday by the police in Enugu, Ebonyi and Cross River states.

The agitators, who are members of the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), were arrested during their rally in the states.

The rally was part of commemoration of Biafra Remembrance Day.

Forty-one of them were arrested by the police in Enugu, 50 in Ebonyi, and 46 in Cross River.

In Cross River, where the MASSOB leader in the state – Samuel Okah – was among those arrested, the agitators were apprehended at Odukpani junction in Odukpani local government area of the state.

They were arrested by a combined team of security agents from the Department of State Service (DSS), the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

Irene Ugbo, the state police public relations officer, while confirming the incident, said they were arrested “for questioning”.

“We got information about the rally at Odukpani and based on it, our men swung into action. The arrested members of the group are being detained for questioning. This is to ascertain their mission and objective. Once that is obtained, they shall be free to go because no weapon was found on them,” she said.

In Ebonyi, the pro-Biafra agitators were arrested on their way from Ohaukwu, the path from Enugu to Abakaliki and also at Onueke, a town in the state.

The police had arrested them while on their way to join the MASSOB rally in the state capital.

John Nwifuru, leader of the group in Ebonyi, said those arrested would be released.

He said he had spoken with the police authorities on the matter.

Ralph Uwazurike, leader of MASSOB, described the arrests as “unwarranted.”

Uwazuruike demanded the immediate release of those detained, urging the police to give reasons why they would still remain in custody.

He also said they would not participate in the sit-at-home exercise slated to hold on May 30.

“Those calling for sit-at-home are cowards,” he said.

Ebere Amaraizu, spokesman of the Enugu state police command, said the agitators were earlier warned not to embark on “any violent protest.”

“No fewer than 41 persons suspected to be members of the BIM were nabbed by security operatives of the command from various parts of Enugu metropolis in the morning of Monday, May 22, based on intelligence information that they were about to conduct themselves in a manner likely to cause the breach of peace,” he said.

Amaraizu said the state command had already commenced investigations regarding the matter.



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