No fewer than five people were feared killed in Aba North Local Government Area of Abia State as personnel of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) clashed with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to Headlinenews.news investigative reports, the incident which occurred on Friday, March 31, 2023, forced schools, shops, and business owners around Osusu area hurriedly shut down.
Headlinenews.news gathered that IPOB members who dressed in white apparels and covering their faces with nose masks, took to the Osusu area to hold peaceful protest as part of steps taken by the group to push for the release of the leader of the group, Nnamdi Kanu from the custody of the Department for State Security (DSS), Abuja.
They chanted a series of pro-Biafra and anti-Nigeria songs to further press home their anger over the continued detention of their leader.
An account of the incident had it that four members of the IPOB were gunned down by Police personnel.
There wasn’t any official statement from either the Police or IPOB over the incident as at the time of filing this report.
Sources within the Osusu axis of the commercial city disclosed that the environment got charged when security operatives from the Nigeria Police Force arrived Osusu and in a bid to disperse and possibly force the IPOB protesters off the streets, started firing sporadically into the air.
According to the source, it appeared that the police operatives who initially were firing into the air, were engaged by the protesters.
The source said: “You know that for some now, if they (IPOB) want to protest, they do it around here and other hidden places. But today, I think that they were ready to brace the odds.
“Against their usual black and black, they dressed in white clothes all through except a few of them, giving the indication that they were for peace.They were about 300-500.
“But I think that the protest leaked into the ears of the security agencies who arrived at the venue and started shooting into the air.
“It is not clear, but it appears that the IPOB people who had managed to be peaceful, turned violent and the kind of bullets that rained on top of zincs further caused tension.
“It was like a war zone. Everybody was running helter-skelter. Passengers inside buses jumped out to look for safety. Shop owners abandoned their shops to safety.
“Parents, including myself, had to go to my children’s school that is near to pick them back home.
“Some people like my neighbours who were already heading for Ariaria and Cemetery markets turned back. It was about 3pm that one of them managed to go to the market to shop for the weekend for her family.
“Until the time she was leaving the house, she was yet to overcome the shock and trauma of the incident.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Geoffrey Ogbonna who had claimed not to have received any information (sitrep; Situation Report) on the incident and promised to get back to our correspondent as soon as he gets information on the incident.
However, efforts to get back to the PPRO at the time of filing the report failed as he couldn’t take calls placed to his mobile line.
Meanwhile, Southeast group, the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, (COSEYL), a socio-political youth group in the South East geopolitical zone said that it received with rude shock the barbaric killing of armless Igbos who were peacefully protesting and demanding for the unconditionally release of Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The group in a statement issued by Hon. Goodluck Ibem, COSEYL President General, described the killing of the protesters as wicked, barbaric, and lawlessness of the highest order.
Ibem who claimed that 5 of the protesters were killed in the fracas between security operatives and the IPOB protesters accused the Army and security agencies deployed to the South East as being behind the killing.
According to Ibem, the personnel of the Nigerians Army and other security agencies were not on a mission to maintain peace in the region, but to kill innocent law-abiding citizens.“There is nowhere in the world where armless protesters wearing white and white are killed for being peaceful in their conduct.
“The evil and wicked killing of five innocent Igbos today is more than meets the eye. This means that they are seriously planning to exterminate the Igbo race who have done nothing wrong.
“We call on the International community, the United Nations and all lovers of democracy to beam their searchlight on Nigeria that has made it an offence to be an Igbo by origin which is punishable by death.”