Forty-seven arrested members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra/Biafra’s Independent Movement (MASSOB/BIM) will be prosecuted for alleged impersonation, the Commissioner of Police in Abia, Anthony Ogbizi, has said.
Ogbizi said this on Wednesday while briefing newsmen in Umuahia on why the accused persons were arrested and detained.
He said that they would also be charged for belonging to an illegal organisation and conducting themselves in a manner capable of causing a breach of the peace in the state.
He said that the people dressed in the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps uniforms, with the defunct Biafra insignia and also bearing Biafran flags.
The police boss said that the people were arrested on the Aba axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway while holding a procession to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the declaration of the state of Biafra.
He said that they embarked on the procession without obtaining permission from the command.
Ogbizi said: “Of course, they are not members of the Independent People of Biafra, which has been proscribed but their activities were capable of causing a breach of public peace.”
He said that they would be arraigned within 24 hours and that all the necessary documentations had been done for their prosecution.
Ogbizi alleged that the militant unit of IPOB was still at work, adding that some people suspected to be members recently attacked a military checkpoint in Aba with Improvised Explosive Device.
He said that the attackers operated in a tricycle, otherwise called “Keke”, adding that one of them was arrested and that investigation was still ongoing.
He said: “Police are apprehensive because the militant unit of IPOB is working with IED. If they improve on the device, they will make the state ungovernable.
“We want peace in the state; so, this is the time for all of us to be alert and vigilant and to report any illegal movement to police.”
In his remark, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Vincent Brown, who supervised the arrest of the accused persons, said that they were arrested while obstructing traffic on the expressway on Tuesday morning.
Brown said that the people put up some resistance but the police applied minimal force to overpower and arrest them.
The spokesman for the group, Chief Jude Odoemena, however, denied the allegation of impersonation, saying that the uniforms belonged to Biafra.
He further said that MASSOB/BIM was a peaceful and non-violent movement.
Odoemena said that the Biafra remembrance celebration had become an annual ritual and that Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, their leader, always obtained Police permit.