The Nigeria Police says it will arraign 33 suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for terrorism.
The suspects were arrested on Saturday in connection with the killing of a police inspector in Nnewi, Anambra State.
The spokesman of the command, Haruna Mohammed, disclosed that the suspects also injured some personnel and a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) while a police patrol van was set ablaze.
Over the years, the group, labelled a terrorist organisation by the federal goverment, has demanded a separate country of Biafra.
In a statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, he stated that the suspects, now in custody, will be arraigned in court on completion of investigation under Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.
He explained that the police in Nnewi on Friday, received an intelligence report that some members of IPOB were sighted gathering “in their hundreds with dangerous weapons near Teaching Hospital, Owerri Road, Nnewi about to cause disturbance”.
He said this prompted teams led by the Area Commander, Nnewi, Nnanna Ama, to mobilise to the scene to prevent them from causing breakdown of law and order and mayhem, and destruction of lives and property.
“The Police Team, while proceeding to the scene came under ambush from the IPOB members, in the process, a Police Inspector was killed, two (2) other Police Officers were seriously injured and one Police Patrol vehicle was set ablaze, and the proscribed IPOB members snatched and carted away two (2) AK47 Rifles and one Beretta Pistol with ammunition.
“The IPOB members subsequently attacked other innocent people on sight with machete and other dangerous weapons as they marched towards the Agboedo Market shouting “NO ELECTIONS WITHOUT REFERENDUM”.
“The Divisional Police Officer, Central Police Station (CPS), Nnewi, CSP Babalola Adewunyi, ASP Micheal Duru attached to Area Command, Nnewi and Inspector Akinbami Olaniyi attached to CPS Nnewi sustained serious injuries from the ambush by the proscribed/unlawful IPOB members.
“The injured Police personnel were rushed to the Hospital for medical attention where the Inspector later died, while the other Police personnel are currently under intensive care in the hospital,” part of the statement read.
Mr Moshood also said the Anambra State Command promptly deployed reinforcement from the State Headquarters comprising “Anti-riot Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Police Anti-Bomb Squad/Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD), Special Anti-cult Unit Personnel and conventional Policemen who quelled the crisis, arrest some of the perpetrators and restored peace and normalcy in Nnewi town and environs”.
According to him, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has directed the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State to carryout intense search operations for the recovery of the two AK47 rifles and one Beretta Pistol with the ammunition snatched from the slain police inspector and other police officers wounded by the suspects.
He is also carry out an operation “to rout and arrest other fleeing suspects who participated in the ambush of the police personnel and bring them to justice”
He also said the Commissioners of Police in the States contiguous to Anambra State and their supervisory Assistant Inspector Generals of Police, their personnel and Anti-riot equipment have been placed on red-alert by the Inspector General of Police.
“They are however enjoined to report any suspicion, unlawful assembly, and attempt or noticed disturbance of the peace in their locality to the Police through the following numbers; 07039194332, 08035078977. The Force is hereby informing the public that Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is a proscribed terrorist group and all activities of the group are therefore unlawful, illegal and terrorist act,” Mr Moshood added.
Below are the names of the suspects and exhibits recovered according to the police:
1. UCHE AMOS, 65Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
2. ELIAZER EMMANUEL, 24Yrs, from Umunneochi LGA, Abia State
3. ELIAZER CHIMA, 23Yrs, from Umunneochi LGA, Abia State
4. ABUCHI OBETA, 19Yrs, from Nnewi South LGA, Anambra State
5. SOMTOCHUKWU OKAFOR, 17Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
6. AGBOMA JUDE, 35Yrs, from Nsukka, Enugu State
7. EZEZONA ODUAGU
8. KELECHI EZE, 20Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
9. OKAFOR CHIMIERE OLISA, 20Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
10. RAPHEAL OGOH, 27Yrs, from Nnewi South LGA, Anambra State
11. OKEKE CHISOM, 19Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
12. DANIEL NWAKPU, 35Yrs, from Ikwo, Ebonyi State
13. FRIDAY NWAFOR, 34Yrs, from Ishielu LGA, Ebonyi State
14. ONYEKA NWAJOBI, 49Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
15. OBETA UWAKWE, 25Yrs, from Igboeze North LGA, Anambra State
16. FESTUS ODIKA, 41Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
17. EMMANUEL OKOYE, 22Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
18. UMEH SUNDAY, 43Yrs, from Aguata LGA, Anambra State
19. IKE CHIEMEZIE SAMUEL
20. SUNDAY ILONZE, 43Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
21. CHUKWUEMEKA NWAESE, 32Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
22. ODUGU CHIMA, 23Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
23. JACOB MONDAY, 48Yrs, from Nnewi South LGA, Anambra State
24. VINCENT OKOROAFOR, 39Yrs, from Owerri North, Imo State
25. JUDE EKE, 32Yrs, from Igboeze South LGA, Enugu State
26. CHARLES UKAZU, 35Yrs, from Ideato South LGA, Imo State
27. EZIEOKWU ERNEST 17 YRS, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
28. CHIBUIKE OZOEMENA, 30Yrs, from Ikeduru LGA, Imo State
29. CHIGOZIE ONYEOGAZIRI, 46Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
30. NWANKWO DONATUS, 48Yrs, from Orumba South LGA, Anambra State
31. OKAFOR OLISA, 20Yrs, from Nnewi North LGA, Anambra State
32. PETER NWANKWO, 25Yrs, from Nnewi South LGA, Anambra State
33. EBEGBONI GEOFFREY, 43Yrs, from Ika South LGA, Delta State
1. Eight motorcycles
2. Five IPOB Flags
3. Five IPOB Caps