The Ebonyi state police command has described the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) as illegal groups.
Jude Madu, the command’s spokesman, who said this in an interview with NAN on Saturday, asked Nigerians to reject the intentions of the groups.
He confirmed that some pro-Biafra agitators were arrested “for unlawfully sensitising” the public to stay at home on May 30, in observance of the group anniversary.
On Monday, the police arrested about 137 protesters in Enugu, Cross River and Ebonyi.
Madu said those arrested in Ebonyi would be charged to court, adding that the command would ensure that they are duly prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
“IPOB and MASSOB are illegal groups and did not get permission from the police to embark on such exercise which threatens the peace and security of the state,” he said.
“The command with the directive of the commissioner of police, Mr Titus Lamorde, has commenced intensive sensitisation of the populace to disregard the sit-at-home directive and go about their lawful businesses.
“These groups have not provided amenities or other forms of social security for the people they are directing to stay at home; it shows that their intentions are not sincere and must be rejected by all.”
Madu warned members of the group not to carry out outlawed activities within the state before, during and after May 30, as the full weight of the law would be brought on any defaulter.
“Any person or group found culpable would be arrested and duly prosecuted as the groups’ activities amount to mutiny or fighting a sitting and legally recognised government.
“IPOB and MASSOB are techniques developed by some individuals to gain public interest and recognition as the former is even a breakaway organ of the latter.
He advised the groups that not everybody was interested in issues concerning secession as people still remember the horrors of the civil war and other upheavals in the country after then.
Madu told them to realise that most people are “not interested in their preaching”, and called on traditional rulers and town unions across the state to assist the police in sensitising the people and provide relevant information about the group’s activities.
“The command has distributed various call contacts (numbers) to the public to report activities of these groups within this period, especially molestation if they refuse to heed to the stay-at-home order,” he said.
“Any gathering of two or more people propagating the IPOB/MASSOB messages or executing related activities should be promptly reported to the police for immediate actions.”
A NAN correspondent who visited the state police command said the arrested IPOB members were upbeat and chanting solidarity songs.