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Pro-Biafra Protest Turn Violent In Enugu, As Police Tear-gas, Arrest Members

By Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

Police in Enugu on Tuesday descended on members of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), as they fired canisters on the pro-Biafra protesters at the Government House, Enugu.

AFRICAN EXAMINER Correspondent reported that dozens of the protesters, including three women were injured in the commotion.

They were protesting the detention of the Director of the Biafran Radio, Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested on Sunday in Lagos by operatives of the Department for State Security Services, (DSS) and was released on Monday.

The protesters converged opposite the entrance to the main gate of the Government House with placards with inscriptions such as “Free Nnamdi Kanu”; “Nnamdi Kanu Is A Freedom Fighter, We Need Justice”, before the police launched attack on them.

An eye witness, who craved anonymity said: “The women converged here with their placards as early as 10:30am and they comported themselves peacefully.

“Suddenly, heavily armed police men led by the Divisional Police Officer, New Haven, Enugu, CSP Okey Ambrose arrived the scene.”

The witness said that the police officers initially pounced on the men who had accompanied the women for the protest during which 19 of them were arrested.

“The arrest made the women resolute and at this point the police fired tear gas directly at them during which the canisters hit some of them, causing heavy bodily injury.

The Commissioner of Police (CP) Mr Adamu Mohammed later arrived the scene.

The leader of the group, Mrs Onyekachi Ubenyi said that they were protesting the arrest of one Mr Nnamdi Kanu by the Department of State Security Services (DSS).

Ubenyi, who expressed shock at the level of police brutality on them, said that their protest was very peaceful.

“We are the women wing of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and what we want is justice. We are not violent,” she said.

She said that some of the women including one Mrs Chinyere Ojikeme were hit on her face by tear gas canisters shot by the police.

According to her, another girl identified as Njideka Ibe, was arrested along with 19 men and taken to an unknown destination by the police.

“Ojikeme was heavily injured on her nose with blood gushing out due to the shot she received and we have rushed her to the hospital,” Ubenyi said.

Meanwhile, the Enugu chapter of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) has condemned the police brutality of the protesting women.

Its Chairman, Dr. Osita Ogbu said that it was uncivilized for the police to have shot canisters directly on a group of unarmed people carrying out a peaceful protest.

Ogbu said that the women had the right guaranteed by law to carry out a peaceful protest without such brutality from security officers.

“This is unacceptable in a civilized society as the right to freedom of assembly has been guaranteed under the Constitution.

“What the police did was a violation of their fundamental human rights,” Ogbu added.

He however, advised the Nigerian police to learn how to be more civil in their dealings with the citizens.

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