By Favour Goodness
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has accused the Nigerian Army of economic strangulation plot against Ndigbo, excoriating service for ‘overreaching itself by shutting down Orlu timber market in Orlu Imo state to punish traders for closing their shops in solidarity with IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu on Monday when his scheduled trial began.
In a statement by the media and publicity secretary of the group, Emma Powerful, IPOB alleged that the traders were equally harassed just for showing respect to Kanu.
He insisted that the action by the army negated the fundamental human rights enjoyed by the traders to open their shops or shut them whenever they felt like it or show sympathy to anyone, irrespective of his problems with the law.
Powerful also accused the police of perpetrating crimes against humanity by constantly parading, torturing, maiming and killing innocent Igbo youths claiming they are members of Eastern Security Network (ESN), all in the name of maintaining law and order in the South East.
“Our attention has been drawn to the unprovoked harassment of our people and traders at various markets especially in Orlu, Imo State who refused to open for business on Monday July 26 as a way of showing their solidarity with our leader, during his (failed) court appearance in Abuja,” Powerful said in the statement.
“A trader committed no crime known to law by not opening for business for whatever reason. Why will the Nigeria Army descend so low as to intimidate Biafran traders who on their own volition decided to solidarize with our leader?
“It is their fundamental right to determine when to open for business and what to do with their time more so when nobody compelled them to.
“Soldiers locking market gates in Owerri, Orlu and other places, chasing people out of market because they solidarized with our leader is madness taken too far. What a shame for soldiers to abandon their duty posts and begin to chase around innocent Biafran traders.
“We are worried by the incessant parading of innocent youths in Biafra land by police and tagging them ESN or unknown gunmen. We are deeply concerned that Mr. Abutu Yaro the police Commissioner Imo State would be harassing innocent Biafrans and laying false allegations against them.
“The Nigerian government and her army and police must know that those people they were illegally parading are not IPOB or ESN members, especially the persons they claimed to have caught at Amaraku in Isiala Mbano LGA Imo State.
“The Nigeria police and Nigerian army should understand that the general public knows them and know how they work in Nigeria since their creation. Nigerian police and Nigerian army are the instructions that create and cause confusion in Nigeria.
“We are warning Nigeria police, army and DSS to stop giving false information about the existence of citizens because people understand (what is going on) and are not happy with them.”
It would be recalled that the market was closed on Monday allegedly by military men “for security reasons” but IPOB has insisted that was a deliberate plot to frustrate the traders who had closed their shops in solidarity with the detained IPOB leader.