Soldiers attached to the Goodluck Jonathan Army Barracks, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Abia State, have reportedly arrested five members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra in Aba.
According to a PUNCH report, the IPOB members were alleged to be part of the pro-Biafra group that disrupted a church service at St Mary’s Catholic Church, Abayi, Ariaria, in the Osisioma Local Government Area on January 27.
IPOB has been proscribed by the Federal Government as a terrorist group, though they are just unrelenting agitators for the creation of a separate country of Biafra.
Although some of the activities of the group are objectionable by many people in the Southeast, which is the main enclave, there central message of pushing for creation of Biafra is quite popular.
The PUNCH’s investigation revealed that the atmosphere in the church got charged when some of the IPOB members, who were also present, prevented a politician in the state from addressing the church.
It quoted sources at the church saying attempts by the Presiding Priest, Rev. Fr. Nathaniel Oyedike, to restore peace failed as members of the group joined in singing and chanting pro-IPOB songs which brought the service an abrupt end.
It was gathered that the IPOB members insisted that they would rather have a referendum than being part of the 2019 elections in Abia and other states in the South-East.
According to the report, the agitators later made their way out of the church, damaging a Toyota Sienna bus branded by the Peoples Democratic Party and bearing the picture of the incumbent senator representing Abia Central and former governor of the state, Theodore Orji.
A source from the 14 Brigade confirmed that the pro-Biafra members were arrested by the troops of Sub-sector Bravo in conjunction with personnel of the Nigerian Police that moved to the area to control the situation.
The source, , who did not want to be named, said, “At the scene, it was reported that IPOB members were shouting no elections in Biafra land and also attempted to beat the pastor, Rev. Fr. Nathaniel Oyedike. A vehicle and some chairs were reportedly damaged within the church premises.”