It has emerged that leaders and members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra in the South-East have been holding secret meetings to avoid arrest by the military and other security agancies in the region.
The leaders also asked their members to wear black on Sunday (today) to mark Nigeria’s Independence Day.
SUNDAY PUNCH reports that they spoke to a leader of an IPOB group in Owerri. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the man said he held regular meetings with his members in secret since IPOB was proscribed and the whereabouts of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu became unknown.
“We hold our meetings in school halls or church premises without displaying any items that can be used to identify us as IPOB members.”
In a telephone interview, the Coordinator of IPOB in Ebonyi State, Ugochukwu Nweke, said the group had designated October 1 (today) to mourn the killing of its members during the military onslaught of their leader’s home.
On whether IPOB would celebrate the Independence Day, Nweke asked the essence of such celebration. He said:
“Which country’s independence are we celebrating? God never created us and called us Nigeria. God created countries and gave them their own separate names. We are Biafrans and we are not participating in anything called Nigeria’s independence.
“On October 1, we are not gathering anywhere. People have been advised to go about their normal business or stay in their homes. Every body should wear black.
“We are mourning our loved ones. They invaded our houses and killed some of us. Even now they are still hunting and killing our people. They call themselves Operation Python Dance.”
Meanwhile, when one of Punch’s correspondents visited Wetheral Road, Fire service junction in Owerri, the Imo State capital, neither the insignias nor the traders who usually sold the items were seen.
A newspaper vendor who spoke on the condition of anonymity said traders stopped selling the Biafran insignias out of fear of being harassed by the soldiers. He said:
“You know that there is Operation Python Dance in the South-East and IPOB members are having problems with the soldiers. So, out of fear of harassment by soldiers, the traders have stopped the sale of Biafra insignias for now.”
A tricycle operator told SUNDAY PUNCH that he removed the Biafran flag from his tricycle because he did not want to be beaten by the soldiers.