The Ebonyi state police command on Friday foiled a protest by pro-Biafra groups and arrested five of the protesters.
But the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra quickly disassociated itself from the protest and the Indigenous People of Biafra, saying those arrested were not their members and that IPOB was destroying its struggle.
The police spokesperson, George Okafor, said at about 9a.m that the command got a tip-off that some people were gathering around Peace Park, Afikpo Road, with the intention to cause chaos in the state.
Mr. Okafor said that the command’s operatives swiftly raced to the area but did not see the protesters. They were told the groups were persuading volunteers to join them to protest.
Mr. Okafor said the group had moved into old Ogoja road heading towards Government House.
“Our men raced to Ogoja road and intercepted them. The group on sighting the police took to their heels and five were arrested with some placards and pro-Biafra flags.
“The command is warning miscreants who intend to disrupt the peace in the state to keep off or be ready to face the wrath of the law and we reassure law abiding citizens to go about their business without fear,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nwifuru John, zonal leader Ebonyi North of MASSOB denied the group’s involvement in the protest.
He said those arrested were not their members and that MASSOB members are non-violent.
Mr. John said MASSOB did not plan any protest as he would have known.
“None of our members have been arrested, none of our members are missing. MASSOB does not condemn any ethnic group, our members are not violent and we have informed the security agencies that IPOB are not MASSOB members and their actions are different from Massob”.
“Since we started this struggle we are non-violent and Raph Uwazuruike is our leader, he is nonviolent. IPOB is destroying our struggle”.
“They should stop naming our office as theirs, they have no structure, no office, we have offices throughout the 13 local government areas of the state”.
He also debunked the notion that their members from Ebonyi state joined in the deadly protest at Onitsha saying that none of their members traveled to Onitsha.