- Police beef up security, warn group
- Ebonyi bans rallies, party logos
Omololu Ogunmade in Abakaliki and Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The leadership of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has threatened to deal with the Ebonyi State governor Dave Umahi and his family, and advised President Muhammadu Buhari to shelve his planned visit to Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital today, threatening to unleash mayhem should the president and his team ignore the warning.
The group, in a statement monday by its media and publicity secretary Emma Powerful, said the visit if not shelved would lead to bloodshed, as members of the group would go on the rampage.
Despite the threats, the Ebonyi Police Command yesterday warned the group and supporters of political parties in the state against disrupting the president’s visit to the state.
The state governor also placed a ban on the involvement of political parties in today’s state visit by the president, describing it as one that should be devoid of party colouration.
But while berating the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and governors of the South-east for sacrificing the Biafra agitation on the altar of selfish reasons, IPOB said nobody should hold it responsible for whatever happens in Ebonyi during the visit.
“Bringing Buhari to insult the memory of those killed at Enugu, Nkpor, Igweocha, Aba, Onitsha and lastly Umuahia will not be tolerated by IPOB and every right thinking Biafran for that matter.
“This is tantamount to an Israeli politician inviting Adolf Hitler to visit Jerusalem to mock the Jews he slaughtered in concentration camps during the holocaust.
“Tuesday 14th November 2017 will be recorded in history as a very bloody day should Buhari attempt to land on Biafran soil. We have remained passive and peaceful but it appears that the Hausa Fulani slave politicians in Igboland are hell bent on provoking us to become violent.
“Whoever advised Ohaneze Ndigbo and Igbo governors to embark on this suicide mission does not wish them well,” the group stated.
IPOB claimed that having lost 91 of its members during the military exercise in the South-ease, Operation Python Dance, it would be unthinkable for them to grant access to the same man that ordered the exercise in the territory.
“They are planning to welcome a man in the name Buhari, a name that is responsible for the worst war crimes and genocide in recent times against our people.
“The only atrocity left, for the likes of Nnia Nwodo and Dave Umahi, is for Biafraland to be transformed into a giant estate of the Fulani caliphate, with small labour camps owned by their emirs, with Biafrans as their labouring slaves.
“Buhari it should be noted, is also planning to visit Anambra State on Wednesday 15th November in order to put executive finishing touches to the APC rigging plot to install the caliphate’s latest young Igbo recruit Tony Nwoye.
“This they hope will cement the ongoing humiliation and conquest of our people. God forbid!
“We will die with him should he set his foot on the sacred land of Biafra. He will not go back alive. He is coming to mock us and to urinate on the graves of our 91 brethren that his Operation Python Dance killed in Abia State.
“He is coming to show us that power belongs to the North and their slaves like Nnia Nwodo and Dave Umahi are in charge over their conquered territory and defeated people of Biafra.
“He has come to tell us we are forever slaves of his Islamic caliphate. Buhari is only coming to confirm to us that he is our lord and master. We will not accept it.
“He can lord it over Ohaneze Ndigbo, Igbo governors and Abuja rent boys but never over we die-hard Biafrans. The governor that invited him will definitely pay a heavy price, he and his children.
“All those who plotted this visit will pay dearly. When the time comes their Northern masters will not be around to save them. We see them coming but they will not see us when the time for vengeance comes.
“Those who are hoping to welcome Buhari to Biafraland will suffer miserably. There will be no forgiveness.
“We have tried for years to avoid bloodshed, but our enemies have finally provoked us beyond measure. We are going to perish together with this ‘Buhari’. It’s a promise,” the banned group threatened.
Despite the threats the Ebonyi Police Command yesterday warned the proscribed group and supporters of political parties in the state against disrupting the president’s visit.
Ebonyi Commissioner of Police, Mr. Titus Lamorde gave the warning in an interview with reporters in Abakaliki.
He assured residents in the state that the command was well equipped to deal with all forms of security challenges before, during and after the president’s visit.
According to Lamorde, any individual or group of persons that foment trouble before, during and after the visit would be severely dealt with, and advised residents in Ebonyi to conduct themselves properly.
“I will not disclose the number of personnel we have drafted for security reasons, but I assure citizens that enough personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure a hitch-free visit.
“The president’s visit is a welcome development and citizens should co-operate with the security agencies to make it a successful one,” he said.
He stated that his officers had been adequately trained to relate well with residents in the state during the visit and advised people to conduct their activities within the confines of the law.
“We would not meddle into political issues as a security outfit, but the visit is developmentally-oriented because of the numerous projects the president would inaugurate.
“My officers would not intimidate or harass individuals or groups, as the duty of ensuring a hitch-free event is a collective one,” he said.
Other than the threats by IPOB, tension between members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and All Progressives Congress (APC) has heightened ahead of the visit.
Ebonyi Bans Party Rallies
In recognition of heightened tensions between the two major political parties, the state governor yesterday placed a ban on their involvement during today’s visit by Buhari, describing it as a presidential visit that must be devoid of party colouration.
This came as the state government also declared today a public holiday in commemoration of the president’s visit.
The declaration was announced by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Senator Emmanuel Uwen in Abakaliki.
Umahi’s ban on parties’ involvement in the visit was in reaction to the agitation by the state chapter of the APC to storm the state’s stadium where the president will be received, in order to welcome him with the party’s logo, brooms and placards. Ebonyi is governed by the PDP.
According to Umahi, displaying any party logos and symbols during the visit will amount to embarrassing the president, insisting that his coming to Ebonyi State today is a state visit for which parties must be neutral.
But the declaration provoked anger among members of the opposition APC which accused the governor of making further attempts to muzzle the opposition in the state.
Umahi said: “Nobody should come to the stadium with any party logos. We don’t want to embarrass the president. If we invite the president for a state visit and PDP rolls out their logo, it will be an embarrassment to Mr. President.
“So it is a presidential visit, no party is coming to the stadium with logos or party slogans of anything. It is just a simple presidential visit. If they don’t understand they should go and find out what a presidential visit is and what it entails.”
The governor described the president’s visit as significant for the state because both the president and his administration had provided incentives that he said had boosted the state’s programmes and policies in agriculture and solid minerals.
He also said the president who will commission some projects today will use the opportunity of the visit to examine if the assistance has been well deployed and whether Ebonyi has justified its creation 31 years ago.
“Mr. President has helped us so much in the area of agriculture. At every opportunity I have had to talk, I have always commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Solid Minerals.
“They have tremendously helped us to revamp our agricultural programme and solid minerals in Ebonyi State. So I believe Mr. President will be coming to see how far we have fared with the assistance he gave to us.
“Of course, he gave to other states but the Bible says that in the last day, men shall be unthankful.
“We are not like those that are unthankful. We have to say, ‘well Mr. President has helped us and so he is coming to see how much we have been able to manage the state we yearn for,’ and he will be able to see the level of marginalisation we suffered before the creation of Ebonyi State.
“He will compare side by side what we have been able to achieve and our agitation for this state’s creation, whether we have justified it or not.
“A lot of people that were here before the state’s creation and even those that came a few years after have given endorsement for the creation of Ebonyi,” he added.
Buhari will today commission two giant fly-over bridges in Abakaliki, one of which is a 700-metre twin bridge over the Western Trans-Sahara Road linking Enugu and Ebonyi with Cameroon.
He will also commission another fly-over named after a Second Republic senator, Offia Nwali, described as the first Nigerian to obtain a PhD in Computer and Analytical Studies.
The president will also commission a 14.5km federal road linking Abakaliki with Afikpo built by the state government.
He will also unveil the statue of the first civilian governor of Eastern Region, Francis Akanu Ibiam.
The president will leave Abakaliki tomorrow morning for Awka, Anambra State, where he will lead the grand finale of the APC rally ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.