A protest embarked upon by members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB turned bloody yesterday in Port Harcourt after security operatives shot dead a protester and injured two others at the First Artillery Bus Stop along the ever-busy Port Harcourt/Aba Exressway.
Again, they carried placards, Biafran flags and green leaves, and demanded the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, as well as freedom for the Igbo, who they alleged are marginalized. The protesters, numbering over 10, 000 were on their way to Government House, Port Harcourt, to register their grievances over Kanu’s continued detention to Governor Nyesom Wike, when they were stopped on their tracks.
Some of the security operatives (Soldiers) started shooting, while policemen threw tear gas canisters at the protesters. An eyewitness said that some of the protesters picked the tear gas canisters and returned them to the security operatives. He added that one of the protesters was repeatedly shot at, at point blank range but was unhurt.
In the confusion that followed, three persons were shot with live bullets, resulting to one instant death, while two others sustained gunshot wounds and were rushed to the hospital. The protest disrupted socio-economic activities along the East West Road, and the Eleme Road, which leads to the Port Harcourt Refineries and the Eleme Petrochemical Company.
The protesters blocked the main road leading to the Port Harcourt Refinery at the Eleme Junction axis even though heavily armed security operatives were on patrol of the area. One of the protesters, who witnessed the shooting, said that the security operatives started shooting live bullets shortly after the state Commissioner for Police, Musa Kimo addressed policemen, and drove out of the area. One of the protesters, Madam Juliet, said:
“We went there without any intention to cause trouble. We wanted to demand for our freedom and the release of our Father, Nnamdi Kanu, only for soldiers to kneel down, position themselves and started shooting. “We were all carrying green leaves, which signify peace but they preferred to shoot and kill us. Of course, we had to defend ourselves by returning the tear gas canisters to them.” When contacted, the spokesman of the state police command, Ahmad Mohamad, said that nobody was killed during the protest.