Commercial activities were affected as hundreds of supporters of Pro-Biafra groups engaged in spate of protests, seeking self determination for the people of South East and their neighbours, on Thursday marched along major streets in Owerri, the Imo State capital and called for the immediate release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the Director of Radio Biafra.
The demonstrators, comprising members of Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), chanted pro-Biafra songs and war songs.
While the demonstration lasted, armed security operatives, including the police and the army, in trucks, monitored the situation.
A demonstrator, who refused to be named, said that the agitation was meant for the Federal Government to release Mazi Kanu unconditionally and allow Biafra people freedom.
He said that it was wrong for the Federal Government and its security agents to arrest Kanu because he supported and believed in the freedom of Biafran people.
“Kanu did not commit any crime to be arrested by the Nigerian Government and we cannot hold ourselves back in asking for his release even if we die in the process,’’ the demonstrator said.
He said that the members of the group had carried out the demonstration in Enugu, Aba, and Port Harcourt.
“We are in Owerri today and hope to extend this move to other towns within Biafra territory till we achieve our aim,’’ he said.
The demonstrators wore T-Shirts with Biafra inscriptions and flags.
The three markets in Owerri — Owerri Main Market, New Market and Owerri Relief Market — were shut while some private schools and shop owners closed their businesses to avoid any ugly experiences.
When contacted on why armed policemen were accompanying agitators, the State Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO), Andrew Enwerem (DSP), declined comment, saying, “Please I do not have any comment on that my brother,” Enwerem said.
The Imo State Police Command had arrested no fewer than 50 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign States of Biafra (MASSOB) over the pro-Biafra protests that rocking the South East and parts of the South-South states.
Enwerem who had earlir confirmed the arrests, however, said those arrested were 31.
He said that 10 out of those detained were arrested last week Friday during the nationwide protest embarked upon by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), while the remaining 21 were arrested on Monday.
Enwerem further disclosed that police arrested the 21 members of IPOB along Wetheral Road, Owerri with insignias of Biafra, just as he also explained that the protesters barricaded roads causing gridlock.
“They were arrested with different kinds of Biafra flag, vest and uniforms, chanting pro-Biafra slogans and causing nuisance on the road.”, he said.
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