Ahead of May 30 sit-at-home directive by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), security has been beefed up in the South East region, and Asaba and Port Harcourt, the Delta and Rivers states’ capitals.
The Nigerian Army and Police have been put on alert for joint security operations in the vulnerable areas even as residents are urged to go about their normal businesses without fear of intimidation or molestation.
The development comes as IPOB insists that nothing will make its members and the Biafran people not to observe the sit-at-home order.
In Abia, the home state of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the group, Army and Police authorities have said they will commence joint security operations in the state from Monday, May 27, in lieu of the sit-at-home order to forestall any violence and molestation of residents.
Speaking on the army’s preparedness to meet any possible security challenges, a senior army officer of the 14 Brigade, Ohafia who spoke on condition of anonymity said the brigade had originally planned to carry out Operation Show of Force by Monday.
He added that when the army got information that police in the state were planning for the same exercise commencing from the said day, the two security organs decided to make it a joint operation.
He said the operation was aimed at reassuring the public that their safety will be guaranteed if they decide to go about their normal business on May 30.
Speaking on his command’s security arrangements, the state commissioner of police, Mr E. Ene Okon corroborated the army in the state, saying they are going to have joint police/military patrol.
Okon who spoke in his office at Umuahia, said as a note of warning, the command earlier in the week arrested some members of a pro Biafra group in the state capital who wanted to cause a breach of public peace.
He said as far as he was concerned, IPOB remained a proscribed group and anybody who associated with it in the state will be treated as a terrorist.
He enjoined parents and guardians to caution their children and wards to refrain from any act that will cause a breach of the order enjoyed in the state. IPOB leader’s younger brother, Prince Emma Kanu in an interview with Saturday Sun said the military and police are wasting their time in Biafraland.
Kanu said even if the military and police decide to relocate their headquarters to the South East and South South zones of the country, it will make no difference as the sit-at-home must be observed. Saturday Sun investigation revealed that there have been increased military and police patrols in the areas adjoining the IPOB leader’s house in the past week.
But in Awka, the security situation is the same as the the state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura declared that IPOB was still a proscribed organisation, hence its activities remain illegal and urged the people to ignore the order.
But following the insistence of IPOB and the strength of their awareness creation which included hoisting of Biafran flags around the state including Awka the state capital; police began a manhunt of members of the group.
Twelve of them according to the command were arrested around Asaba-Onitsha expressway while the other 12 were apprehended along Ekwulobia-Uga road in Aguata Local Government Area of the state.
Saturday Sun observed that a joint force of Police, Army and other security agencies were patrolling the nooks and crannies of the state to ensure that violence was not recorded anywhere.
In Port Harcourt, the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army also declared its preparedness to assist the Nigeria Police Force to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order in Rivers State on May 30.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, in an interview with Saturday Sun, said that Army’s responsibility is to assist the Police whenever the need arises. Iliyasu explained that the primary responsibility falls on the Police, adding that Army does not work alone, but in collaboration with sister security agencies in the state.
Also, in Delta, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adeyinka Adeleke, yesterday expressed the readiness of the command to check activities of members of the proscribed IPOB.
Mr. Adeleke implored law-abiding citizens in Asaba and its environs to disregard the threats by the secessionist group, and go about their lawful duties.
He said strategic measures have been put in place by the command to ensure that any act of violence or lawlessness by any group is adequately addressed while the culprits will be made to face the full weight of the law.
In Ebonyi, the state command of the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) said hey have beefed up security in all the nooks and crannies of the state to ensure that there wouldn’t be a break down of law and order.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Awosola Awotinde, told Saturday Sun that the police alongside other security agencies in the state which included the Directorate of State Services and the NSCDC have held a show of strength movement round the state.
He disclosed that about 100 Biafra flags hoisted by the members of the IPOB have been mopped up by the police, saying they would not relent in ensuring that the pro-Biafra group does not have a field day.
Also speaking, the State Commandant of the NSCDC, Steve Amoga, said the command was working with other security agencies to ensure that lives and properties are protected.
He said the command under his watch is adequately prepared and have the human and material resources needed to arrest any situation that may arise on the day of the sit-at-home order.