By OKEY SAMPSON, Aba
…We’ll arrest him -Police
Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has warned the police against defying a court order to arrest their leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, saying such action would force the group to jettison its non-violent approach to the struggle.
The movement said the warning became imperative due to intelligence report it received that the police was planning to arrest their leader, Uwazuruike against the order of the court.
Heavy fighting was reported to have broken out at the headquarters of MASSOB at Okwe in Onuimo Local Government Area of Imo State between some members of the movement and loyalists of Uwazuruike, which led to the death of about four persons.
Following this development, Imo State Police command invited the MASSOB leader for questioning, threatening to declare him wanted if he failed to report to the command’s headquarters in Owerri.
However, on Friday last week, Uwazuruike headed to an Owerri High Court, where he got an order restraining the police from arresting or declaring him wanted if he failed to honour their invitation.
Speaking in Aba, Abia State, MASSOB’s Acting Director of Information, Sunny Okereafor said it was wrong in the first place, for police to have invited Uwazuruike over the Okwe incident, which he said the group’s leader had no hands in.
Okereafor said the Okwe incident was a family matter, which MASSOB was going to handle in the normal Igbo communal way of resolving issues, and that did not require the involvement of the police which he described as MASSOB’s number one enemy.
He said: “Last week’s incident at our headquarters in Okwe, although was unfortunate, but it’s a family matter. We are going to handle it the way the Igbo communally resolve their problems, which does not require the involvement of the police.
“Police should know that they are MASSOB’s number one enemy and their coming into the matter would not help matters. Before inviting our leader, Uwazuruike, to their office, they should first account for the thousands of MASSOB members they massacred,” Okereafor said.
But the Imo State Police Command at the weekend, vowed to arrest Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, despite an existing court order restraining it from arresting him.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Andrew Enwerem, said the police would track down Chief Uwazuruike wherever he might be hiding, to explain his role in the crisis.
“What we are talking about is murder. He must come and answer the charges. Court cannot stop him from being interrogated,” he said.
By OKEY SAMPSON, Aba