From KASSIDY UCHENDU, Nsukka
Police in Ibagwa-Aka in Igbo Eze South Local Government Area, Enugu State, have arrested a member of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for using Biafra number plate on his motorcycle. Mr. Obeta Anthony from Obolo-Afor in Udenu Local Council Area, Enugu State, according to reports, was arrested last Saturday at Ovoko community for using MASSOB number plate and has been detained at the Ibagwa-Aka Police Station since then. MASSOB Nsukka Rgional Administrator, Mr. Kenneth Fidelis Okwudili, told Daily Sun that Obeta had been in detention since last Saturday and that all efforts made to secure his bail was abortive.
“All efforts we have been making to bail Obeta were abortive as the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) was making an unnecessary demand of N50,000 for his bail,” the administrator alleged. He said what his member did was not an offence and that they had been using the number plate on their motorcycles for a long time to identify themselves. “Go to Onitsha, it is a popular number plate and nobody molests us,” Okwudili averred.
The MASSOB regional administrator insisted that the number plate was only a symbol of identity for their members and that such did not constitute any offence as it served the purpose of a barge or any other emblem of identity to an organisation. Describing the arrest as provocative and an infringement of Obeta’s fundamental rights, Okwudili queried: “Is the number plate a gun or bomb?” adding that, “Nigeria has enough security challenges on her hand to grapple with.
Police should leave non-violent organisations like MASSOB alone and direct their attention at serious security challenges posed by Boko Haram. The administrator recalled that on April 22, police arrested his members for engaging in a clean-up exercise in Nsukka Urban and gave the names of the arrested members as, Asadunwa Paul, Christopher Ude, Ojobo Sylvanus, Abonyi Sylvester, among others. Also, his members were arrested by the police in Nsukka on the eve of the burial of Ojukwu. He called on the DPO, Ibagwa Aka Police Station, to order the immediate release of his member describing his arrest and detention as illegal.
When Daily Sun reached the IPO) on phone for enquiry, he declined comments and only insisted on asking the reporter: “Who gave you my phone number? Who gave you my phone number?” The IPO (name withheld), however, said, “I am writing something, I will reach you later.” Efforts to reach MASSOB Director of Information, Madu, were fruitless as he could not be reached on his cell phone.