Members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on yesterday protested round the major streets of Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State over the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu of the Radio Biafra fame with a vow to shot down the city on Monday.
This was in defiance of the warning of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase for the group to discontinue its violent protests across the South East.
The IGP had in a statement issued through the Spokesperson of the force, Olabisi Kolawole warned that the group should stop its protest as information suggested that members of IPOB were planning to use dangerous weapons during its protest in some of the southeast states of the country.
The protest which started as early as 7.00am saw members of IPOB march peacefully through the streets of Aba in their thousands, carrying Biafran flags, flex bearing the image of their detained leader and chanting solidarity songs.
They also carried placards some of which called on the Federal Government and other International bodies to come to their assistance in order to help them achieve a sovereign state of Biafra and the release of their leader, Kanu.
Sunday Sun gathered that as early as 7am the protesters had assembled at a location near Ariaria International market where they were at initial stage prevented from taking off by a combined team of Police and other security agencies.
However, between 11am and 12noon, members of IPOB re-grouped and went round Ariaria International market with a bell warning that the market would close for business on Monday for a proposed mega rally, stressing that anybody that would defy the order would be seen as anti Biafra.
After beating the security web, the group around noon took off from a different location to match along major streets of Aba, including Faulks road, Aba-Owerri, Aba-Ikot Ekpene among other places, causing gridlock.
The group before heading back to town made a stopover in front of the office of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA channel 6 Aba, located along the Aba- Ikot Ekpenne road. They were however prevented by the police to get close to the gate of the national television where they had wanted to voice out reasons for their peaceful protest.
Some of the protesters who spoke to our reporter said that they decided to embark on the protest as a mark of respect for their leader, Kanu who they said has been incarcerated by the federal government and was refused to be granted bail despite the peaceful path that he (Kanu) and other members of the group have chosen to let the world know the level of marginalization and dehumanization the southeast and south-south states have suffered even when they were the gooses that lay the eggs other parts of the country are enjoying today.
“Look at the deplorable nature of our roads. Water in the south-south especially the oil producing states and communities have been polluted. Are we talking about gas flaring that is going on in these states? Farmers are not planting again because their farmlands are no longer producing. Poverty is eating up the people whose resources is being used to sustain the economy of the country.
“We have said it and we are going to continue saying it that we are tired of being part of the country called Nigeria where things go wrong and when you ask questions, people will call for your head. This is just the beginning of the struggle and we shall continue to push further until our leader (Kanu) is released and until the dream of our forefathers for the actualization and realization of a sovereign state of Biafra is realised. It is not going to come through a violent means, but a non-violent one; our forefathers have fought the war that we are supposed to fight, so any person thinking that Biafra is going to come through violent means is just wasting his or her precious time”, one of the protesters said.
Soldiers and policemen were stationed at strategy locations of the city, but it was not clear whether there was any clash between the security agents and the protesters.
Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO DSP Ezekiel Udeviotu Onyeke could not be reached for comments, but a senior police officer who wouldn’t want to be named said the presence of the police was to forestall any possible breakdown of law and order in the city.