Prior to the September 23rd pro-Biafra protests across south-eastern region of Nigeria, police authorities of Delta state warned members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) not to embark on protests in the state.
Celestina Kalu, Police Superintendent in Delta state, was reported to have said, “The Delta Police Command and its personnel have been fully briefed on the rules of engagement and have been deployed and briefed, to deal ruthlessly with any person or group of persons who attempt to cause a breach of the peace for whatever reason.”
Same warning was issued in Anambra state.
“The command is using this medium to warn such elements to retrace their steps and desist from embarking on any act of criminality.”- Nkeiruka Nwode, Police Public Relations Officer.
In Enugu state, it was reported that some IPOB members were arrested for inciting residents to embark on a sit-at-home protest.
The IPOB members distributed pamphlets at market places, which read thus:
“IPOB, for the betterment of your children and yourself,”
“Please stay at home on 23/9/16,”
“There will be no work, no school, no business, no market’”
“Free Nnamdi Kanu, free Biafra.”
It was also reported that IPOB had, in a released statement through the IPOB Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, on Monday, disclosed plans to halt all economic activities in the South-East and the South-South regions of Nigeria through a sit-at-home protest.
The statement revealed that the idea behind the protest is to demand the release of Nnamdi Kanu.
The Nigerian police and the IPOB have been having series of clashes for the past one year. That is not to say that the fight for the sovereignty of the Biafran state began recently. It has taken over 5 decades and counting.
Deaf to police warnings, the pro-Biafra protests went on as planned as pro-Biafrans stayed home.
During the protests which reportedly went as far as Abidjan, Biafran agitators carried placards urging the federal government to release IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in police custody for nearly one year.
Generally speaking, it appears that the pro-Biafra protests in Nigeria was largely peaceful.