The Joint Taskforce (JTF) in Onitsha, Anambra State has ransacked shelter suspected to be for members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). The Onitsha Police Area Commander, Mr John Obuagbaka, said about 555 Biafran flags and other insignia including belts, caps, shirts, books, fliers, stickers and a car were recovered from members of the outlawed
The Joint Taskforce (JTF) in Onitsha, Anambra State has ransacked shelter suspected to be for members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Onitsha Police Area Commander, Mr John Obuagbaka, said about 555 Biafran flags and other insignia including belts, caps, shirts, books, fliers, stickers and a car were recovered from members of the outlawed BIAFRAN – Independent Movement (BIM) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Onitsha.
He spoke on behalf of JTF, which comprises the police, military, Civil Defence Corps, and the Federal Road Safety Corps.
Obuagbaka while addressing newsmen on Sunday, said the items were recovered during the May 30, 2019 sit-at-home day by IPOB in honour of fallen hero’s of BIAFRA.
Reacting to concerns in some quarters that the Police in Onitsha beat, extorted and forced residents into their waiting vans in the name of clamping down on Biafran agitators before, during and after IPOB Celebration day, the JTF Commander, absorbed the taskforce of any wrong doing.
While denying the allegation, the Area Commander added that
He said the flags recovered excluded torn and worn out flags that were not counted.
According to him, only members of IPOB were arrested during the clampdown.
“It was on the course of pulling down the flags hoisted on electric poles along Obodoukwu road and other strategic positions in city by the proscribed groups that the JTF saw a blue car own by one Michael Ezeogbonna, packed along Obodoukwu road, loaded with MASSOB flag and other insignia, that we opened the car where these insignia were recovered”.
On the allegation that a sum of N648,040 left in the car by the owner, Ezeogbonna, was among the items removed by the JTF led by himself, the Area Commander, said that no such money was removed and described the allegation as baseless and unfounded.
He explained that whatever that was recovered from the car were recorded in the presence of all security operatives that made up the JTF.
He also advised Ezeogbonna, a welder cum activist to come forward to the police to clear himself pointing out that he has the freedom to express and defend himself.
Recall that Mr. Ezeogbonna had accused the JTF of forcefully breaking his car door and removing MASSOB insignia in the car without his consent. He also admitted that he is a member of BIM-MASSOB.
“They should return my car to where I packed it in my workshop along Obodoukwu road. That’s where I normally pack it. MASSOB is not a terrorist group and I did not commit any offence that will warrant the breaking and entering of my car by the JTF,” he posited.
In his reaction, the BIM-MASSOB spokesperson, Mazi Chris Mocha, said: “the raid on Obodoukwu road and Upper Iweka in Onitsha and environs by the JTF who also beat up innocent people and forced them to climb up electric poles and pull down Biafran flags hoisted by the group on the poles was inhuman and unethical.
“We condemn in totality the arrest of our members in Onitsha by the JTF, it is also unethical of the Onitsha Police Area Commander who led the task force, to forcefully break and tow the car of our member, Michael Ezeogbonna, for no just cause because they saw Biafra flag in his car.
“MASSOB is not a terrorist group but a non-violent body struggling to realise a Biafran National, because of the marginalisation of the Igbo region by the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
He urged supporters of the movement not to talent in the struggle to liberate themselves from the iron grip of President Muhammadu government.