Biafra: CLO chides army over arrest of newspaper vendors in Aba

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By Ugochukwu Alaribe

ABA — The Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, Aba Unit has condemned what it described as the Gestapo approach employed by soldiers in Aba, Abia State, in the arrest of sales representatives and vendors of two national newspapers in the city.

Soldiers from the Forward Operation Base, FOB, Aba, stationed at Ngwa Road, had last week, assaulted the Aba sales representatives of Authority and Thisday newspapers, Mrs. Chinyere Ibe and Simeon Obi, respectively.

They also arrested a newspaper distributor, 64-year-old Mrs. Theresa Oloveze, and a vendor, Mr. Obinna Ogbonna, for allegedly selling pro Biafra newspapers.

Condemning the persistent clampdown on newspaper vendors in Aba by soldiers, the foremost human rights organization drew the attention of the Army to the fact that there is no law promulgated in Nigeria which made it a crime for newspapers and sundry publications to mention issues of Biafra.

In a statement signed by Chairman of CLO, Aba Unit, Prof. Charles Chinekezi, the organization said it was disturbing that the Army in Aba would believe that ordinary newspaper vendors would be behind publications carrying stories on issues of Biafra.

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Demonstrators wave flags and hold a sign reading “Freedom for Biafra” during a protest calling for the release of pro-Biafra leader Nnamdi Kanu, on September 23, 2016, in the Abidjan suburb of Treichville.
Near one hundred Biafran Nigerians protested on September 23 in Abidjan, calling for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, according to an AFP photographer.

He said: “The CLO totally condemns the Gestapo approach employed by the Nigerian Army in Abia to arrest, torture and clamp into detention, innocent newspaper vendors in Aba whom they alleged to be behind the sale of publications carrying stories on issues of Biafra.

“The CLO enjoins Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to take up this matter as the victims of the soldiers’ unwholesome attack have been unduly brutalized and traumatized on merely trumped up charges of being behind the Biafran movement which by all intents and purposes could never be the truth.”

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“It is sad that the newspaper vendors including 64 year old Mrs. Oloveze spent the whole of last week in detention, CLO appeals to the Army authorities to call its personnel in Aba to order and stop the constant harassment of newspaper distributors in the city. As an institution established by law, if the Army has any issue with newspaper distributors in Aba, it should be civil in her conducts and follow the due process of the law,” the statement read in part.

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