Two persons were feared dead on Friday when members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB) and officers of the Nigerian Police Force, Nnewi division clashed in Nnewi, Anambra State.
This is coming as over 34 IPOB members have been allegedly arrested by the Nigerian Police.
But the Anambra Police command said only a policeman died in the protest while a Divisional Police Officer in the area was hospitalised following injuries sustained in the clash.
Speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Mike Okoli said,” I will confirm to you that we lost a policeman in the clash; an inspector. The DPO who went with him to that operation is hospitalised. I can’t tell you of any other casualties; this is the much I know.”
It was gathered that the pro-Biafran agitators marched round Nnewi and environs on Friday sensitising the people about the need for a referendum to determine a sovereign state of Biafra and rejection of the 2019 general elections.
The deceased, a police officer and a member of the pro-Biafran group, were reportedly killed during the fracas said to have triggered at the popular Nkwo Nnewi Market.
The pro-Biafran group, numbering over 2000, had stormed the market to drive home their “no referendum, no 2019 election” agitation.
The protesters, with each waving the Biafran flag, moved round, and asked people in the market not to participate in the elections unless the federal government were ready to heed to their demand of conducting referendum.
Our correspondent gathered that problem ensured following the arrival of police operatives to the scene in three Hilux vans who attempted to stop the protesters.
“Members of the group pounced on the police officers and destroyed their vans, leaving two people dead in the process,” an eye witness said.
The fracas was said to have led to the abrupt closure of the markets around 2:30pm as traders were seen scampering for safety.
The IPOB Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, had earlier in a statement, said members of the group were in the industrial city of the state to express joy over the second coming of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu in Jerusalem.
He said the reappearance of their leader was a clear testimony that the struggle for Biafra actualization was divine.
“IPOB volunteers marched along all major streets and roads of Biafraland today to register their happiness over the second coming and reappearance of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in Jerusalem, the state of Israel last month.
The statement read partly, “Our leader’s reappearance in Israel after the Nigerian government and her security forces including the Nigerian Army, Air force and Naval forces invaded his compound at Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia in Abia State last year September is clearly an indication to all and sundry that God Almighty is behind the struggle for Biafra liberation.
“Biafrans are equally today showcasing to the world that we are ready to boycott every Nigerian elections come 2019 especially presidential election next year.
“Our march today on the roads and streets across Biafraland must send signals to politicians and saboteurs among us that Biafrans are determined to leave the prison called Nigeria where British government experimented to lead black Africans and other black nations across the globe but failed to live up to the expectations for over 100 years because of the Hausa Fulani caliphate dominations.
“IPOB rally and march today being 23rd November, 2018 is ongoing in all the states across Biafraland like Rivers, Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Delta, Imo, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and other Biafra clans and tribes fraudulently caved into Kogi, Benue and Edo States, the unrelented efforts by IPOB family worldwide to restore Biafra sovereignty must continue unless Nigeria Government and it’s handlers give us date for Biafra referendum to ascertain whether our people wants to continue stay in Nigeria or not.
“We are much aware that some unscrupulous individuals and groups including those Biafran stocks who work with Nigeria Government and those who prefer to be slaves in their own fathers land to the detriment of Biafra restoration project.
“IPOB is divinely ordained restore Biafra sovereignty out of this enclave called Nigeria. We are coming to show Nigerians and its handlers including their security apparatus what is called civil disobedience because IPOB is more of intellectuals than daft.”