OWERRI—A detachment of armed security personnel from Imo State police command, Sunday, clashed with loyalists of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, leaving many injured.
This came on a day the group said it had no regret supporting former President Goodluck Jonathan in his failed re-election bid.
The MASSOB loyalists came to Owerri in more than 500 commercial vehicles of varying sizes to celebrate Biafran Day and remember their fallen heroes.
Vanguard gathered that members, clad in their uniforms, sang songs as they marched towards the city centre of Owerri.
It was further gathered that as the MASSOB loyalists marched into the ever busy Owerri-Port Harvourt federal highway, the police personnel allegedly ordered them to disperse but the order was disobeyed.
An eyewitness claimed that as the processing MASSOB loyalists made to continue their march, the police fired some teargas canisters.
“As soon as MASSOB loyalists marched into Owerri-Port Harcourt highway, the police ordered them to disperse, but the order was largely ignored by the people. The police then fired teargas canisters,” the witness recounted.
He said that the firing of teargas canisters generated instant stampede, which occasioned injuries.
It was not clear at press time if anybody died in the process or how many people were arrested by the police, but many sustained varying degrees of injuries.
Several calls put across to the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Andrew Enwerem, a deputy superintendent of police, were neither picked nor returned.
Meanwhile, MASSOB has said it had no regret backing former President Goodluck Jonathan in his failed re-election bid.
The MASSOB Leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, who made the declaration made in an address delivered during the ceremony to mark this year’s Biafra Day in Owerri, yesterday, said: “The Goodluck Jonathan presidential election followed the pattern of the Biafra-Nigeria civil war.
‘’It highlighted the war has not ended. It was a war between the former Eastern Region and Nigeria.”
While insisting that the outcome of the election had justified their resolve for self-determination, Chief Uwazuruike also explained why Ndigbo voted massively for their brothers from the South-South.
“This singular gesture has made the struggle for Biafra stronger again. We remain proud of our support for Dr. Jonathan and we promise to continue to support our brothers in their future endeavour.
“The Biafra project has formed the outlook of our people over the years,” the MASSOB leader said.
He noted that because of the said project, his people had suffered many deprivations in Nigeria.
He said: “Because of the project, our people have been massacred in their millions. Our detractors brought enmity between Ndigbo and their brothers in the South-South.
‘’The seed of discord cost us our first attempt at independence, as well as brought distrust between us and our brothers.’’