‘No IPOB member was arrested in Ebonyi’
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on Saturday, said no member of the group was arrested in Ebonyi state.
The Ebonyi State Police Command had on Wednesday, confirmed the arrest of 15 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
It said the suspects were arrested at a bush at Amasiri in the Afikpo North local government area of the state on Tuesday by men of the Nigeria Police and other security agents while allegedly planning to hold their 2019 summit in the state.
But IPOB, in a statement issued by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, said the report came to it as a surprise as it had no event in the state that would necessitate the gathering of people on a large scale.
The group maintained that it was not in the habit of celebrating any anniversary either in Biafraland or in the diaspora since inception.
It further explained it had never hosted events in the bushes nor forests, but honoured its heroes with a general strike on designated days of the year.
The statement partly read, “Our attention has been drawn to the purported mass arrest of supposed members of IPOB in Ebonyi State by Governor Dave Umahi and his Fulani handlers who mischievously labelled those they abducted as Biafrans planning an anniversary.
“This attempt by Dave Umahi to prove to his Fulani masters that he is anti-Biafra and IPOB has led him to round-up and illegally lock up landowners in Ebonyi State under the pretext of fighting Biafra agitators but of which the true intention is to pave the way for Fulani herdsmen to take over community lands for their RUGA settlement in the state.
“We the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its leadership worldwide wish to categorically state that those Dave Umahi claim to have arrested in Ebonyi are not IPOB family members because our movement is not in the habit of celebrating any anniversary either in Biafraland or in the diaspora, since the inception of this great movement.
“It came to us as a surprise to hear the media blast about purported arrest of IPOB family members when we had no event in Ebonyi State that would necessitate the gathering of people on a large scale.
“Dave Umahi and his Fulani overlords in the Police and Army in Abakiliki have instead engaged in land grabbing arrest of innocent citizens especially indigenes of Amasiri in Afikpo LGA of Ebonyi State who were merely strategising on how to protect their land from Fulani terror herdsmen.
“By tagging these villagers IPOB, Dave Umahi sought to deflect attention from this dastardly act of illicit land grabbing for RUGA going on in Ebonyi State.
“This blatant lie and misinformation sold to the media that IPOB members were arrested in Ebonyi is simply a lie designed to mask the horrors of RUGA implimentation by stealth going on in Ebonyi State and to deflect attention away from secret ethnic cleansing of villages to pave way for Fulani settlements in Ebonyi.
“We are very much aware that Fulani herdsmen wield considerable influence and power in the affairs of governance of Enugu and Ebonyi State but we IPOB are determined to oppose them every step of the way.
The pro-Biafra group vowed that Ebonyi and Enugu states would never become another conquered Fulani territory while it existed.
“We shall continue to confront and drive them away wherever we observe them engaged in illegal occupation of ancestral lands.
“Dave Umahi may seek to please his Fulani masters by sacrificing the lives of Ebonyi indigenes but we must warn him that he is moving down a dangerous path that will inevitably consume him and those around him.
“He is playing a very dangerous game from which he will never emerge unscaved. Umahi’s sworn duty to protect ordinary citizens of Ebonyi State must be his primary duty,” the statement added.