Tension is rising at Orodo in Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State as the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the police are spoiling for a bloody clash.
This follows a threat by the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the area, Mr. Duru, to burn down the MASSOB office for hoisting the movement’s flag.
But the MASSOB members also threatened to retaliate by unleashing mayhem on the DPO. They also threatened to burn his building in the neighbouring local government area.
The MASSOB Deputy Director of Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, told National Mirror yesterday in Owerri, the state capital, that the DPO’s threat was an empty one.
He said that MASSOB would not hesitate to lunch a reprisal attack at the DPO’s house in Mbaise if he carried out his threat to destroy the movement’s office. Mocha alleged that the DPO had ordered a landlord, Chief Paulinus Onyeze, to eject two tenants believed to be MASSOB members from his house failing which the DPO would arrest him and burn down the building.
Stressing that MASSOB would mobilise its men for a likely showdown with the DPO, he said: “We are prepared to wage war against the police officer if he destroys any MASSOB’s property in the local government area.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Joy Elemoko, declined comment on the issue, but a police source confirmed to National Mirror that the DPO ordered the MASSOB members to stop hoisting their flag.
“He told them not to hoist their flag on the building because we have only one Nigerian flag as there is nothing like MASSOB,” the police source said.
It was learnt that the DPO further threatened to prosecute the MASSOB members if they failed to obey the directive to dismantle their flag on the building.
Three MASSOB members were, however, arrested yesterday in Owerri for hoisting the group’s flag on a building.
The police team, led by the DPO, stormed MASSOB’s office at about 1:30pm and arrested one Joshua Onyema, Richard Ofonye and Miss Violet Abiakwe.
The police team also searched the office and carted away some property.
Among the property carted away were a typewriter, audio cassettes, eight plastic chairs and benches, enlarged photograph of the late Chief Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and that of the MASSOB leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, as well as N7, 600.
Mocha said the arrested members were detained at the police command headquarters.
He said: “The police authorities have finally launched an attack on peace-loving MASSOB members without any justification for such provocative harassment.”