Contrary to reports on Sunday that 25 members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra MASSOB) were arrested in Anambra State during the 16th Anniversary celebration of the movement, the police on Monday, September 14, 2015, paraded 43 members of the group which it said, security operatives picked up in different parts of the state.
The Commissioner of Police, Hassan Karma, while parading the people in the presence of other security chiefs in the state, said that 15 of them were arrested in Ogbaru council while 28 others were arrested in Nnewi council area.
It will be recalled that Daily Independent reported that some MASSOB members were arrested at St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church in Okpoko in Ogbaru local government while others were arrested at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Nnewi; most of them inside the church while attending their thanksgiving mass.
Karma claimed in recent times, police had observed increasing rise of assaults on innocent citizens of the state who were dispossessed of their personal effects such as cash, mobile phones and hand bags among other things.
According to him, the arrested members of the movement “paraded themselves with so much authority as if they are acting on government’s directives and I am making it clear that the miscreants do not have the backing of the law, or that of government to engage in such activities”.
He said that most members of the movement were from building construction sites, traders and motor park operators and that there would be no hiding place for them.
He urged Anambra people to go about their business without hindrance or fear of molestation because the police is on top of the situation and there will be no hiding place for the miscreants.
Also during the parading of the people, the Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Security Matters, Chukwudi Anara, said that security was on top of Governor Obiano’s priority and that he would not allow any security threat to succeed.
However, two of the members paraded: Mr. Ugochukwu Ugwoke and Chinedu Ukoha both from Ebonyi and Abia states denied parading themselves in a violent manner.
They said on interview that they did not molest anybody and that they belong to a peaceful group championing the interest and cause of Igbo race.
According to them, police arrested them on their way to mark the thanks-giving anniversary of MASSOB.
Meanwhile, a faction of the movement has said that it would probe the movement’s leader, Chief Raph Uwazurike, for leading some Igbo people to death.
The National Director of Information of the group, Uchenna Madu, in a statement in Nnewi, condemned the killings and series of arrests of some factional (MASSOB) members during the anniversary celebration in some states on Sunday.
According to the group, “though the celebration is a yearly ritual, in every resolution when a major program is introduced, there must be a tangible vision and aim to be actualized”
“We condemn the stupidity and insensitivity of some factional members under Uwazuruike, who always endangered their lives because of him without any single interest in their personal and family welfare”
“Sunday’s anniversary with no single aim of achievement, led to the unnecessary and stupid death of Uwazuruike’s factional members while many are detained.
“Which church did Uwazuruike attend his own service or thanksgiving? Did he celebrate in his house or hotel? Why is it that Uwazuruike did not attend any church in Igbo land to celebrate the anniversary, it queried.