At least one person, a police officer, has been confirmed dead after an attack by suspected members of the pro-Biafra separatist group, IPOB, in Abia State, the police have said.
The police also announced that at least 59 suspected members of the now outlawed group have been arrested by security officials.
The new Abia State Commissioner of Police, Anthony Ogbizi, who stated these, also said suspected members of IPOB, recently arrested, will be prosecuted for murder, arson and other related crimes.
Ogbizi disclosed this during a press briefing and parade of seven suspected members of IPOB at Ariaria police station in Aba. He said following the proscription of IPOB by governors in the South East and its declaration as a terrorist group by the Nigerian Army, anybody found with Biafra materials would be arrested and prosecuted. He said that they would be prosecuted under the Anti Terrorism Act to ensure they were properly dealt with.
Ogbizi, echoing what the army had earlier said, stressed that IPOB by their action had shown itself to be a terrorist group, which must be dealt with as such. He said that between September 10 and September 14, 2017, the Ariaria police station was attacked by suspected members of IPOB, who destroyed everything in the station.
He said they came with petrol bombs, which they used to gain entrance, destroyed properties and took three pump action guns.
He said: “Even some policemen were seriously injured. In fact, as I am talking to you, one of the injured police officer is dead. Doctors tried in vain to save his life. Now, we have lost a soul and you know what it takes to train a police officer. You know the vacuum that creates. It takes a minimum of one year to train a police officer.”
Ogbizi said the group also destroyed property of lawful citizens, adding that their demonstration was not peaceful. He alleged that the group attacked a bank to get money to acquire more weapons.
The police boss said about 30 IPOB members were arrested when they attacked soldiers at Isiala Ngwa and about 29 arrested in Umuahia. He added that suspected IPOB members attacked military officers and the residences of Commissioner of Police and AIG Zone 9 in Umuahia. Ogbizi said volunteered that the army recovered several exhibits including the coat of arms of Biafra from the suspects.
“As I am talking to you now, information reaching me said they have started gathering at Nnamdi Kanu’s house”, he said.
Ogbizi called on the people to volunteer information on the whereabouts of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu. He denied rumours circulating in the state that security agents have arrested Kanu’s father. (DIALYSUN)