December 17, 2015 – Hausas Flee From Anambra & Delta States As Biafra Protesters, Igbo Boys Threaten To Attack Them
Northerners in Onitsha, Anambra State and Asaba, the Delta State capital, have started returning to their towns and villages in the North over threats by Biafra agitators to unleash mayhem in the two states. Those leaving for fear of the unknown from Onitsha were seen in their hundreds boarding trucks in Abraka axis of Asaba, along the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway.
Also, those leaving from Okpanam axis of Asaba, gathered along the Illah- Ebu-Uromi link-road to Abuja, to escape from what they described as the tragedy to come. Others are currently taking refuge in uncompleted buildings in the outskirts of Okpanam town.
The Biafra agitators, under the auspices of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), had on Tuesday threatened to make trouble, should the Federal Government continue to keep the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, unduly in detention. The agitators got provoked in Onitsha and Asaba that the Federal Government instigated fresh charges against him, to make the court commit Kanu to jail.
The group, New Telegraph gathered, has maintained that Kanu’s release was paramount in the agenda of the Supreme Council of IPOB and has resolved not to be deterred by blackmail and the negative impression being circulated by agents of the Federal Government against the agitation.
One of those escaping from the impending mayhem, simply identified as Muhammed, who hails from Nasarawa State, said a group of Igbo boys accosted them where they were working as bricklayers in Okpanam axis of Asaba and warned them from coming to work today, should the Federal Government fail to release Kanu yesterday. Corroborating him, another boy, identified simply as Sanni, who said he came from Adamawa State, recounted how he narrowly escaped been thrown into the River Niger two years ago when Boko Haram insurgents triggered a crisis in Onitsha. While he said he would not wait to witness any disaster, he, however, condemned the military pressure on the crisis, maintaining that ‘it is unacceptable.’
Meanwhile, an Abuja Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday discharged Kanu on all counts of criminal conspiracy and ownership of an unlawful society brought against him by the Federal Government. Magistrate Shuaibu Usman held that the government had dropped the charges against Kanu and, on that ground, he discharged and struck out the case against him. The Federal Government, through the Department of State Services (DSS), had withdrew the case at the lower court for a higher court, which has jurisdiction to entertain charges bordering on terrorism, to take over.
The magistrate’s court was listed to deliver judgement on the application of the DSS on December 1, but adjourned till December 16. The DSS has held Kanu for at least 90 days despite an order of the magistrate’s court granting him bail in October. After the lower court granted him bail, the DSS got an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, to keep him in detention.
However, his counsel, Vincent Obetta, filed a counter application, seeking bail for the accused person. The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja will today deliver ruling in Kanu’s bail application. In another development, IPOB members yesterday took their protest to the South-West. The protesters, asking for the unconditional release of Kanu, staged a peaceful protest at Okokomaiko Road in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The pro-Biafra protesters grounded vehicular and commercial activities in the area. A businessman at Alaba, who gave his name as Cajetan, said the protest did not reach Alaba. He said: “It only took place at Okokomaiko. When they started, the news of the protest caused anxiety among the traders because we thought it could become violent.
“However, the protesters were guided by the police. So, it was peaceful. Business activities were not disrupted at Alaba.” The news that Kanu had been released brought the protest to an abrupt halt. One of the protesters, identified as Ubah, said the protest started in the morning and ended about 1p.m., when news filtered in that the case against the director had been struck out. He said: “We thank God that justice had prevailed. Any attempt by anyone to re-arrest him will bring us back. We are law-abiding citizens of Nigeria and we also have the right to protest when the need arises.
“As you have observed, as soon as we heard that Kanu had been released, we called off the protest.” It was gathered that policemen from the Ojo, Ajangbadi and FESTAC Area E Command were with the protesters to ensure that it did not turn violent. Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, told Lagosians not to panic because their activities were closely monitored. IPOB had issued a statement that the rally would hold at Alaba International Market and Trade Fair Complex where there is high concentration of Igbo traders.
The police said there was no mega protest in Lagos by IPOB members. Police described the protest as an act of mischief making sponsored by those who do not want peace and order in Lagos. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Zone 2, CSP Adebowale Lawal, said though police got hint of a planned protest by the group in Lagos, they had taken proactive measures to make sure it neither came to the light nor disturbed public peace.
The news of the discharge of Kanu yesterday threw the commercial city of Aba into wild jubilation as pro-Biafra supporters fired bangers and fireworks across the city. Sources said that a “knock out” shop in the city was hit by the bangers and exploded, firing in all directions.
There was wide jubilation in Abakaliki when the news filtered into the town that Kanu had been released from detention. The new leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State Biafra (MASSOB), Uchenna Madu, has denied taking bribe to stop the release of Kanu. He described the allegation by Raph Uwazuruike of the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) that he took N500 million from the Federal Government to stop Kanu’s release as baseless.