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Over Five thousand members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, one of the groups agitating for the sovereign state of Biafra, will today embark on peaceful protest in Ebonyi State.
The protests which have lasted for weeks across the South East and parts of the South South have attracted the attention of governors of the East who are billed to meet in Imo State to discuss the way forward. Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha is scheduled to meet with other governors in the South-East, leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, and other stakeholders in the geo-political zone to talk and agree on how to check the activities of pro-Biafra groups in the zone.
The leader of the group in Ebonyi state, Mr Uchenna Madu made this known to newsmen in Abakaliki yesterday.
The group is protesting alleged indiscriminate arrest and detention of its members by the federal government.
Madu maintained that they were determined in their resolve to protest such ill treatment against members of the group and no one would stop them.
He said, “We are unstoppable in this nationwide protest. No amount of intimidation, harassment, arrest and detention will prevent us from showing our grievances over the action of the federal government and the police.
“They have been arresting our members and we want to let them know that there is limit we can endure all their actions.
“We have been very peaceful but the federal government and security agents are pushing us to the wall.”
Madu said the body has received information that police in Ebonyi have taken over strategic position in the state to stop their protest but their sabotage will not yield any result.
Police had yesterday cordoned-off the boundary between the state and Enugu, apparently on a tip off that the group was to stage a protest.
Responding to the development in a statement yesterday, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okorocha, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo, said the all important meeting is expected to take place this weekend in Owerri, the Imo state capital .
Onwuemeodo disclosed that already the governor has begun to make all the necessary contacts to ensure that all those expected to be at the meeting are in attendance.
He said, “Governor Okorocha had earlier, while taking exception to the pro-Biafra violent protests in some of the South-East states and few other neighbouring states, disassociated the governors and leaders in the south-east states from the MASSOB protest, describing the whole exercise as embarrassing, disturbing, counter-productive and to a large extent, distracting.
According to Governor Okorocha, the pro-Biafra protests could not be in the interest of the south-east people but were only sending wrong signals to the rest of Nigerians. He said that it has become increasingly necessary for the governors in the zone, Ohaneze leaders and other stakeholders in the area to meet to call a spade a spade.
The CPS added, “It is also expected that at the end of the Owerri meeting, the governors and other leaders will take a common position and will also invite the leaders of the pro-Biafra groups for a meeting, to let them know the socio-economic and political implications of their activities including their demand for sovereignty in a united Nigeria.
He further stated that Governor Okorocha, other governors and leaders in the zone could no longer sit and watch the whole situation degenerating and also noted that the Igbos as a people cannot afford to have its own kind of Boko Haram.
He also wondered why the pro-Biafra apologists kept quiet all these years only to resume their violent protests and activities this time and few months after the new administration in the country came on board.
The governors, Okorocha’s aide said, are going to take the bull by the horns in the overall interest of Ndi-Igbo in particular and Nigerians in general.