By Olisemeka Obeche
The exiled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has accused police and army operatives of killing three members of the group at Oraifite in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra state.
The bloody clash, which took place around 11:30am, this paper gathered, followed a formal complaint against Barrister Ejiofor, who was accused of abduction, assault resulting in harm and malicious damage to property. Ejiofor was reportedly concluding burial rites of his late brother when police operatives invaded his house at UmunakwaIfite village in Oraifite to arrest him, before a clash with perdons the police it suspected to be IPOB members, a situation that resulted in the death of the police officers and burning of their patrol van.
“As a result of the attack, two police officers, whose identities are being withheld, were killed by the suspected IPOB members; while others were inflicted with machete cuts. The injured personnel were rushed to the hospital for medical attention and are presently receiving treatment.
Following the attack, the state police command deployed reinforcements from the State Headquarters comprising of Police Mobile Force (PMF), Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and Special Anti-Cult (SPACs) Units in conjunction with the Army and other security agencies who cordoned off the area in their bid to fish out the culprits. It was gathered that many shops and properties were razed in the wake of the crackdown on the pro-Biafra members.
Efforts made by our reporter to get the suspect, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, for his own side of the story was unsuccessful; as his line was not reachable; neither was there any IPOB member on ground to speak on the development.
Kanu, in a statement posted on his social media page, said his members were murdered during the alleged invasion of residence of IPOB’s lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor,on December 2 in a bid to kill him and his family.
Although police said in its official account of the incident that two of its top officers, the commander of Oraifite Area Command, ACP Oliver Abbey and ASP Joseph Okubo, lost their lives while 16 others sustained various degrees of injuries during the clash, it was silence on civilian death or casualties.
“Sadly, three innocent Biafrans were killed by this invading force at his residence,” the IPOB leader said in a statement issued through the national publicity secretary of IPOB.
According to him, the Oraifiteincident “comes on the heels of yet another killing of two IPOB family members who were peacefully gathered in Arondizuogu Sunday December 1″.
MrKanu said police and other security agencies “must know that the time is fast approaching when British diplomatic clout and protection may not be enough to shield them from the consequences of their daily crimes against innocent Biafrans”.
“Attacking the home of my lawyer is a step too far and the only effect it will have is to hasten the disintegration of Nigeria,” he said.
“There is a United Nations Mission, US Embassy, British High Commission and other highbrow foreign diplomatic presence in Nigeria who should take note of these ugly developments and convey the same to their home countries.
“It is their responsibility to ensure this wanton brutality, lawlessness and anarchy being engineered by the government against the people of Biafra is duly noted for what it is, an act of war,” MrKanu said, warning that those responsible ”for this deadly assault know they will pay dearly for it”.
Meanwhile, the Anambra state police command has declared Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a legal counsel to the proscribed pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) wanted over alleged cases of conspiracy and murder of the commander of Oraifite Area Command, ACP Oliver Abbey and ASP Joseph Okubo.
According to the command, in a terse statementissued by the state police public relations officer, SP Haruna Mohammed,it had obtained a warrant of arrest in respect of Ejiofor whom it described as “a member of the proscribed IPOB.” The arrest, it said was“over alleged cases of conspiracy, murder, treasonable felony, arson and armed robbery.”
It sought any information that could lead to the arrest of the lawyer from members of the public.