13th August, 2013
The police in Delta State, southsouth Nigeria, said the detained coordinator of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Anioma/Ndokwa East region of the state, Mr. Emeka Okafor, and others arrested recently would be charged to court soon.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the Delta State Police Command, ASP Lucky Uyabeme, said they would be charged to court at the end of investigation.
He listed the items recovered from the suspects to include 114 Biafran flags, two boots, 129 Biafran pounds and ten shillings.
Others items were 32 membership forms and other documents, ten pairs of complete Biafran uniforms with name tags, three cutlasses, seven hard cover notebooks for minutes of meeting, two military belts and one expended cartridge.
Uyabeme said the Command would not allow any part of the state to be used as breeding ground for any criminal activity, insisting that acts of the suspects were “treasonable and the government will not condone such lawlessness.”
On his part, Okafor accused the police of arresting them out of fear of the growing popularity of MASSOB in Asaba, capital of Delta State.
The 52-year-old MASSOB leader who hails from Nkanu in Enugu State, was arrested and detained by the police with five of his members.
The police had arrested four members of the movement the previous day. They have been in police detention since the arrest.
Names of those the police first arrested are Ndubisi Ezeocha, 20, Francis Onuigbo, 28, Emeka Izigbo, 28, and Andrew Nwufulu, 26. The following day Okafor, a native of Nkanu in Enugu State, southeast Nigeria, was arrested along with five other suspects.
The police had accused the suspects of attacking vigilante men at Powerline and Ominigboma areas of Asaba.
But Okafor, who was paraded by the police before journalists in Asaba, denied attacking vigilante men in Asaba.
“This is a sector, how can we go and attack them? They are afraid that if MASSOB continues to be visible they would not continue to harass people. They are street people,” he said, adding “there were people that came there and wanted to sympathise with flood victims and three of my members went there. Unfortunately, one of them who has not been given proper MASSOB training went with them.
“While there, they were pushing one another, trying to get space and in the process the vigilante people slapped one of my boys and he retaliated. And then the vigilante people called policemen from ‘B’ Division. Instead of coming to settle the matter, the police started arresting our members.”
Okafor insisted that MASSOB is a peaceful association that is going about its activities without intimidating, harassing or attacking members of the public, adding that they were attacked by crooks who removed everything that the police paraded as exhibits.
“We did not mount road block neither did we go on demonstration. We were at a place and they went there and searched everything. Those boys are crooks, they searched everywhere and brought out the money. The money is for me, we keep it knowing that it is a legal tender to the Biafran people. We hide it because we know the quality of it,” he stated.