The now notorious criminal activities of MASSOB has been brought to the attention of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Onitsha branch, who only yesterday pleaded with the State Governor Peter Obi to ban the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The NBA said the activities of commercial motorcyclists also known as Okada be banned. The lawyers spoke in a communique issued at the end of an emergency meeting in Onitsha.
Its chairman Mr. B. C. Maduechesi said it was necessary to ban MASSOB because of the unscrupulous activities of the group in recent times including the attack and assault on Onitsha NBA Secretary, Onyechi Ononye and his wife. They were also dispossessed of their personal effects by those they identified as MASSOB members, the NBA alleged.
The NBA warned its members to desist from being registered members of MASSOB but to restrict their relationship with MASSOB to only lawyer/client level, warning that any member found associating with MASSOB beyond lawyer/client level would be sanctioned.
But MASSOB leader Ralph Uwazuruike, told reporters that those who attacked the NBA scribe and his wife could not be MASSOB members because attacking people was not part of their struggle.
He challenged the NBA to produce evidence of the identities of the attackers if they were sure. He added that MASSOB would not hesitate to deal ruthlessly with any member found involved in such act. He did not speak on the call by NBA for the banning of Okada.
The NBA insisted on official protest to the government to enforce the ban on commercial motorcycle business which is dominated by MASSOB members.
The NBA said it would channel its grievances to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the lawyers’ body for onward transmission to the presidency and National Assembly for effective clampdown on MASSOB activities in the state since they are aware that so many lives have been lost as a result of MASSOB’s nefarious activities which it alleged had gone beyond the control of the state government.
MASSOB Director of Information, Uchenna Madu said: “NBA alleged that MASSOB molested their members but we stand to say that those who molested their members were not our members. Are we so stupid and callous that we shall bite the hands that assisted us in legal matters?
“MASSOB has a very good relationship with Southeast NBA for being sympathetic to our cause. Every effort we made to meet with the leadership of Onitsha NBA in order to ascertain and verify their allegation against MASSOB was frustrated. With the hurry the NBA is prosecuting MASSOB on this matter, we suspect they are being used by our enemies to tarnish our image”.