About seventeen members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were allegedly shot by a combined team of Police and other security agencies on Tuesday.
IPOB, in a statement signed by Emma Powerful alleged that 70 others were arrested by the security agencies.
The statement reads in part: “We the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) find it distasteful that rather than confront rampaging and murderous Fulani herdsmen, the Nigerian army and police have continued their incessant and unwarranted attacks against the peaceful family of IPOB in Ebonyi State.
“A combined team of Nigeria Armed Forces invaded the venue of a peaceful IPOB gathering in Ebonyi LGA at 5pm on Sunday 27 October 2019 with more than 50 Hilux vans during an inauguration ceremony and opened fire on defenceless mothers and fathers without warning.
“Such mindless and animalistic brutality cannot happen and has never happened in the north where the top four most deadly terror groups are operating freely without restriction”.
“The security operatives, opened fire on everybody at the venue of the meeting which resulted in many casualties. 17 people sustained severe gunshot wounds while over 70 people were abducted and taken to unknown location.”
Mr Powerful noted further that if the same murderous zeal exhibited by the Nigerian Army and police in Ebonyi can be exhibited in the fight against terrorism, banditry and lawlessness in the north, peace and tranquillity will reign.
“The continued killing of innocent civilians in Ebonyi State by terror herdsmen on one hand and Nigerian army on the other is troubling”
“This continued invasion and intimidation of Biafraland must stop. All those responsible for this attack will pay dearly for it, them and their children”, Powerful added.
In a swift reaction, the commissioner of police, Ebonyi State Police Command who spoke with journalists through the PPRO, ASP Loveth Odah, debunked the allegations, stating that it only arrested six members of the group in a primary school in the state.
She said that IPOB members started attacking the security agents immediately they sighted them.
Loveth noted further that the IPOB members hit one of their DPO, one John with heavy stones on the head.
She added that he would have died but for the helmet he was wearing and bulletproof vest he also wore.
She said: “Why are they saying police burst into where they were holding a meeting? Are they supposed to hold a meeting in Nigeria when they have been proscribed? In law, there is what is called an unlawful assembly.
“Members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) assembled unlawfully and the information got to us, that was on October 27, 2019, at Oguzoronweya Primary School in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State by 2.50p.m.
“On receiving the information, men of Operation Puff Adder of our command, in active collaboration of other security agencies, went to the place.
“We thought that IPOB members were just normal people that gathered together to have an unlawful meeting even when they know they are not lawful in Nigeria. But yesterday was very different. As soon as police got to the area, to their greatest surprise, Mr. John, the DPO of Kpirikpiri Division, was seriously attacked.
“If not because he was seriously kitted as a policeman, having his helmet on him and his bulletproof, he would have been killed. By now you would have just heard that a Chief Superintendent of Police is dead.
“Their lawyer, who was with the IPOB members was arrested. I talked with him and I was surprised that he denied being their legal adviser. He said he was taking their briefs. I don’t know the difference between a legal adviser and somebody who takes a brief for an organisation.
“Many of them ran away but we were able to arrest at least six of them; they are in custody. They are fully dressed in IPOB uniform,” she stated.
When contacted, the Spokesman of the Army, Musa Sagir did not respond to request for reaction at the time of this report.