Sunday, 17 September 2017

IPOB is not a terrorist organisation – Ohanaeze | Ban on pro-Biafra groups will lead to loss of lives – MASSOB

Igbo Socio-political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a terrorist organisation.

The defence headquarters had declared IPOB a militant terrorist group after a clash with soldiers.

But in a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting in Enugu on Saturday and signed by John Nwodo, Ohanaeze asked the army to immediately terminate its exercise in the south-east.

“That the decision of the Nigeria army to commence Operation Python Dance in the south-east at this point in time is regrettable and called for immediate termination of the exercise. The military option is never the solution to problem of nation building. We refer for instance to goings on in Spain, Scotland and other parts of the world to reaffirm that only through dialogue can the national question be resolved. Consequently we condemned all acts of violence in pursuance to freedom of expression,” the nine-point communiqué read.

“That Imeobi resolved that IPOB is not a terrorist organisation. There are processes under extant national and international laws, especially the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011, as Amended in 2015 to determine whether a group is or not a terrorist organisation.”

It said the loss of lives during the military exercise was “unfortunate and deplorable.”

It added, “It is the sole responsibility of the police in every democracy to maintain law and order and protection of lives and property of its citizens”.

“A united Nigeria under a restructured federal system of government that guarantees justice, equity and farness is the best system for this country,” it said.

“Accordingly, Ohanaeze is mandated to organise a special summit soonest of Igbo nation in support of the restructuring agenda.”

Also, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has said the proscription of the activities of IPOB in the South-East would not stand.

It warned that any attempt by the governors to enforce the proscription will lead to loss of lives.

National Director of Information, MASSOB, Samuel Edeson, said this in an interview with Punch in Enugu.

He described the pro-Biafra groups as independent associations of people whose rights to self determination are backed by the United Nation’s Charter.

According to him, “The governors said they will enforce the proscription, the only way they can do that is by using the shoot-on-sight approach which was started by the Buhari administration. In that case people will die.

“The fact is that MASSOB was never registered under the Nigerian government; neither did we register under the Corporate Affairs Commission.

“We are an independent organisation, we are freedom fighters — there is nowhere in the world where a self determination group is proscribed.

“It (proscription) cannot stand; nobody can drive us away from our father’s land.”

Meanwhile, Troops have launched a search for leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu in the South-East region, The Nation reports.

According to the newspaper, security agencies had been directed to arrest Kanu and other leaders of his group.

Kanu had disappeared after troops marched into his community in Abia State and allegedly invaded his residence.

Investigators are said to be analysing a video clip of Kanu and a Turkish citizen as part of the probe.

A source, while confirming the search for Kanu, said: “Troops have been given a firm order to fish out and arrest the IPOB leader. As a prelude to it, the Defence Headquarters on Friday declared IPOB as a terrorist organisation.

“Intelligence has, however, revealed that Kanu might have gone underground. As I speak with you, troops have actually searched his house and he was not found there.Troops have a mandate to arrest him wherever he might be.”

On the probe of Kanu’s alleged foreign links , another source said:”We are looking into the allegations of foreign support for Kanu. We are doing a profiling of his foreign contacts. We have some clues but we need to dig deeper.”

Also, the new Police Commissioner in Abia state, Anthony Ogbizi, has said arrested members of Indigenous People of Biafra will be prosecuted for murder, arson and other related Crimes.

Ogbizi disclosed this during a press briefing and parade of seven suspected members of IPOB at Ariaria police station in Aba.

He also confirmed the arrest of 59 IPOB members in the South-East.

He confirmed that they would be prosecuted under the anti-terrorism Act to ensure they were properly dealt with.

He said that between Sept. 10 and Sept 14 the Ariaria police station was attacked by suspected members of IPOB who destroyed everything at the station.

“Even some policemen were seriously injured. In fact as I am talking to you, one of the injured police officer is dead. Doctors tried in vain to save his life.

“Now we have lost a soul and you know what it takes to train a police officer. You know the vacuum that creates. It takes a minimum of one year to train a police officer”, he said.

He also alleged that the group attacked a nearby bank to get money to acquire more weapons.

“As I am talking to you now information reaching me said they have started gathering at Nnamdi Kanu’s house”, he said.

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