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IPOB, MASSOB, Others Disrupt Igbo Pro Restructuring Summit

From Ignatius  Okpara, Enugu

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Scores of members of the outlawed  Nnamdi Kanu led Independent peoples of Biafra, IPOB,  and other pro- Biafra agitators on Tuesday disrupted a  summit organized by the Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA, in Enugu.

However, the state  police Command said it has apprehended 11 members of the groups around the Independence Layout axis of the Enugu.

The state police public Relations officer PPRO, Ebere Amarizu, disclosed this via a press statement he made available to African Examiner.

Our Correspondent learnt  that the groups comprising members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, the Biafra Zionists Federation, BZF, among several others, forced the event to an abrupt end.

African Examiner gathered that trouble started when the agitators insisted that they should be recognized, and given chance to speak at the event, a request the organizers turned down on the basis that they may likely make inflammatory statements on Biafra  issue.

The agitators also got provoked when issues of restructuring of Nigeria took the centre stage instead of their clamour for Biafra.

Organizers of the ceremony , had planned to use it to honour the 1st Nigerian president, the late Owelle Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe,  foremost Nigerian women leader, Mrs. Margaret Ekpo, renowned constitutional lawyer,  Prof. Ben Nwabueze,  Anambra state born elder statesman, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, amongst others.

Speaking with newsmen, Secretary General of ECA , and convener of the gathering, Evangelist Elliot Uko, explained that the aim of event was to discuss the restructuring of the country as well as honour great Igbo sons and daughters, living or dead.

He alleged that some prominent Igbo leaders had planned to use the platform to advance their personal  selfish interest via the agitators, but were disappointed, when  the organizers did not allow them.

When one of the speakers, Amaechi began to talk about the need to restructure Nigeria  into six zones, the Biafran agitators began to interrupt him, saying that they do  not want to hear anything about Nigeria, saying he should centre his discussion on Biafra

The hall for the event turned rowdy, when  Evagelist Ukoh announced that it was time to give a post-humous award to Dr. Azikiwe for his contributions towards national development.

Immediately Zik’s name was mentioned, the Biafran agitators rose in condemnation of Zik’s efforts to keep the country united, just as they blamed the late nationalist for the current travails of the Igbo in the country.

As the crowd became restive, Ugochukwu-Uko threatened to deal with any trouble maker in the hall but his utterances angered the agitators the more and they descended on the people on the high table and in the commotion that ensued, they removed Prof Amucheazi’s red cap from his head and his eye glasses.

Some of the leaders present at the event had no option than to  run away  for their safety, as their cars were petted with stoned leading to the shattering of the wind shields.

After disrupting the event, the mob chased journalists that came to cover the event way from the venue before moving to the streets of Enugu metropolis, where they blocked roads, displaying the photographs of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

They condemned restructuring, insisting  that they would not settle for anything other than Biafran Republic.

Unfortunately for them, as  they were matching, the police confronted them in front of the Presidential Hotel, by firing tears gas canisters on them, leading to the arrest of some of the members.

Uko, who confirmed that he abruptly ended the event owing to the charged atmosphere created by the Biafra agitators, fingered the leadership of the apex Igbo socio cultural organization,  Ohanaeze Ndigbo led. By Chief Nnia Nwodo  over the ugly  incident.

He said:  “initially, I didn’t want pro-Biafra groups to be at the event; but Uchenna Madu called me and inquired whether they should come. I said no; Nnamdi Kanu’s group also called me, I’m friendly with them, because I have never openly attacked them. I didn’t want them to come.

“But later, I spoke to one of the Igbo elders, he said, let them come; the more the merrier; let them come and see what we are doing. Three days to the event, I agreed that they should come.

“So, when the event started today, I was acknowledging various groups, they wrote note passed to me that Biafra Zionists are here in their numbers, that I should acknowledge them; I said they should be patient.

“The genesis is that the Ohanaeze President, Chief Nnia Nwodo wanted to be here too, but I said no; so, I was aware that they will set traps for me. He even asked Ayo Adebanjo to call me, but I said no, that he is in dispute with these children and I don’t want to be joined in their issues.

“Nnia Nwodo called me again, I went to his house with Maria Okwor; he requested that I should bring these boys to him so that he can reconcile with them, that they are insulting him so much. I told him that I don’t want to get involved. He promised to do a lot for me, I said no, that I want to continue doing my own things.

“So, I’m aware that Nwodo is not happy with me because I said he should not attend the event; therefore, they will set traps for me.

“These are the same people who were insulting me over 20 years ago when I started championing the issue of restructuring; but today, every group or the other has one committee on restructuring; so, I’m no longer a mad man.

“All over the world, they know me as an apostle of restructuring, but in the earlier days, I was called a mad man.

“So, I was expectant that they were planning for me today; when Uchenna Madu was mounting pressure on me that they want to come, I was curious.

“Now, today, like I said, they demanded that they should be given opportunity to talk; I was reluctant because I didn’t know what they will say. While issues of restructuring were being discussed, they started interrupting, that they want Biafra not restructuring; I said, ok, so this is what they want to say in my event.

“The next thing was that they started asking, ‘where is Nnamdi Kanu’, that he is their leader, that their leader should be here. I knew that I had problem in my hand. They now started noise, security asked them to leave the hall, they refused. They started asking me where is their leader, asking me whether he was dead. I asked them whether I was the one that took their leader” Uko asked.

“So, I had to dismiss the event, because I did not want to have fracas here or a situation where someone will hijack my event.”



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