Nigerian: Demands to end state repression of independence movement

Nigeria: MASSOB Gives Army 48 Hours to Release Detained Members

Beatrice Onuchukwu

24 January 2012

Awka — The Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) yesterday gave the Army a 48-hour ultimatum to release the corpses of three of its members allegedly killed on Sunday by soldiers from the Onitsha Military Cantonment, and 46 of its members arrested by the soldiers. Comrade Uchenna Madu, the MASSOB Director of Information at a news conference in Onitsha yesterday stated that the Army has provoked MASSOB by illegal killings and detention.

“If the issue is not addressed, the Army and the Nigerian state will see the violent side of MASSOB,” he said.

Madu lamented that the non-violent posture of MASSOB has been mistaken for weakness and cowardice by security operatives, “who now derive joy in the killing and intimidation of unarmed MASSOB members”.

“The current security challenges the country is grappling with as a result of the Boko Haram menace will be a child’s play at the expiration of our ultimatum.

We will declare war against the Army except our members that are currently in detention in different military facilities and police cells in Anambra State and the entire South-East are released unconditionally. We have endured the killing of Ndigbo in the North without reprisal attacks in the East, but we are being pushed to the wall by the Army in our own land. What have they done to members of the Boko Haram sect who are known enemies of the state? We are waiting to see what government will do otherwise we may resort to self defence”, he said.

Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, who also spoke, lamented that the MASSOB members who were killed by the Army in Onitsha were on their way to a meeting to fine tune arrangements for the burial of late Odimegwu Ojukwu. Describing the incident as provocative, the Igbo leader warned that the actions of the Army which he said was a systematic clampdown on Igbo youths, would have dire consequences if it is allowed to continue.

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