By Martins Ezigwe
The Anambra State Police Command this afternoon in Awka denied arresting the members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) as alleged by the movement a few days ago.
The police release, the second since the allegation was levelled, personally read to media men by the State Commisioner of Police Mr Bala Nassarawa however, did not say the names of persons arrested on November 9, 2012 as specifically alleged by MASSOB, but claimed in general terms that all ‘suspected criminals arrested under the guise of MASSOB have been charged to courts for prosecution’.
Mr Nassarawa did not field any questions from anxious media men.
In the first reaction made by Emeka Chukwuemeka, the Command simply said that the identity of the bodies discovered in Ezu River would be established through autopsy.
The commissioner insisted that the allegation by MASSOB is spurious because MASSOB had since January 20, to identify the bodies recovered from Ezu River but did not do so, only to come up with an unfounded allegation three weeks after.
Insisting that he MASSOB has been proscribed by the government, Nassrawa said ‘at no time did my command arrest anyone bearing the names mentioned in the publication. His pres statement did not restate the names mentioned by MASSOB who had stated categorically that the Police arrested their members on November 9, 2012 and kept them at State Anti-Robbery Special Unit (SARS) at Awkuzu and that these members were among those killed and dumped in Ezu River.
MASSOB listed the members as Basil Ogbu, Basil Ogbu, Michael Ogwa, Sunday O…mogo, Philip Nwankpa, Eze Ndubisi, Ebuka Eze, Obinna Ofor, Joseph Udoh, Uchechukwu Ejiofor and others.
The unedited text of the statement reads :
The attention of the Anambra State Police Command has been drawn to a publication in some newspapers that the corpses recovered at River Ezu are those of some MASSOB members allegedly arrested and killed by security agencies. I want to use this opportunity to categorically refute this baseless and malicious allegation in its entirety.
The corpses were recovered from the river on 20th January 2013 and some were deposited at Amaku general Hospital morgue from 20th -28th and yet the faceless MASSOB members did not deem it fit to come and identify them, only to come up with unfounded allegations three weeks after. I am confident that they are making this allegation because the command has made it impossible for them to keep committing atrocities against the peace-loving people of this state.
To put the records straight, all suspected criminals arrested under the guise of MASSOB were duly charged to courts for prosecution. As at now, many have been remanded in prison custody facing trial. But at no time did my command did my command arrest persons bearing the names mentioned in the publication. Our records are there to speak to us.
As far as Anambra State government is concerned, MASSOB has been proscribed by government and so it remains. Therefore anybody that hides under the canopy or pretext of MASSOB, or any illegal organisation for that matter and commits any criminal act will be arrested and prosecuted.
I will not fold my arms as the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State and allow criminal elements under any guise to unleash terror on innocent citizens. I want to assure the good people of the state that I am unshaken by this spurious allegation, and my fight against all forms of crime and criminality is total and non-negotiable. I am not deterred and cannot be intimidated by any group of social miscreants, and will not allow ourselves to be distracted, as we remain focused against violent crimes in the state.
Be that as it may, the investigation into the nineteen (19) corpses discovered on the 19th of January, 2013 is on-going. The command believes that human lives are sacred and as such is as concerned as anyone else, and would welcome any person or group of persons that would assist in unravelling the mystery surrounding the corpses.