Biafra supporters gather on May 30, 2017, in Abidjan, during a ceremony marking the 50 years to the day since an independent republic of Biafra was declared. Calls for independence never disappeared even after the 30-month civil war, which left more than one million dead, most of them Igbos, mainly from starvation and disease. Many people accuse the government of failing to invest in the southeast since the end of the war in 1970, blighting development. Some see it as a punishment for the conflict. Support for secession has increased since the arrest in late 2015 of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the pro-independence Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement. (Photo credit: SIA KAMBOU/AFP via Getty Images)
No fewer than eight members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) whose origin was traced to Ebonyi State have been arrested by the Delta State Police Command for allegedly burning down the High Court Complex and other public structures at Koka Junction, Asaba, capital of Delta State, during the #EndSARS protest in October 2020, AllNews reports.
Parading the proscribed IPOB members alongside 103 other criminal suspects on Thursday in Asaba, the State Commissioner of Police, Hafiz M. Inuwa, said that the suspects who are also residents of Asaba perpetrated acts of violence under the guise of participating in the #EndSARS protest, including torching several public structures.
IPOB is a Biafran separatist organization in Nigeria. Its main aim is to restore an independent state of Biafra in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria through an independence referendum.
Inuwa gave the names of the suspects alleged to be members of the IPOB as 18-year old Igwe Tobechukwu, Chidera Chukwu (20 years), Chukuebuka Aweke (20 years) Emmanuel Arigon (22 years), Chidoke Nwankwo (20 years), Obima Ebuka (20 years), Nwafor Joshua (20 years), and 20-year old Esther Chukwu, who is the only female member of the secessionist group arrested by the police.
According to the police commissioner, the suspected IBOB members burnt public property including the High Court complex along Ibusa Road, Asaba, the multi-million Naira Asaba Interchange and Recreation Park, the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) operational office in Asaba, and other public facilities.
Inuwa said that a tricycle belonging to one of the suspects, which was used in conveying used tyres and petrol to the scene of the crime and a Nokia mobile phone snatched from a passerby were recovered.
He also said that one Lucky Felix of ‘Mile 5’ in Asaba, who confessed his involvement in the burning of Akwofor Police Post, the High Court complex and other atrocities during the #EndSARS protests, was arrested with a gun and two cartridges stolen from the burnt court store with the court’s exhibit registration number still on them.
Furthermore, the police commissioner said that 27 armed robbery suspects, 25 suspected secret cult members, 12 kidnap suspects, nine suspected arsonists, eight suspected rapists and 14 others who were in unlawful possession of firearms were also apprehended.
He said the seven AK47 rifles, six pump-action guns, 487 live cartridges and three dynamites were recovered from suspected criminals.
He disclosed that “proactive and relative crime preventive mechanisms” were used to arrest and foil kidnapping, robberies and other criminal activities across the state during the period under review.