Ebonyi visit: Police talk tough as IPOB threatens to attack Buhari

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Ihuoma Chiedozie  and Tony Okafor

The Ebonyi State Police Command on Monday warned the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and political parties’ supporters against disruptive acts during President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state on Tuesday.

IPOB had early on Monday asked President Buhari not to come to the South-East, which it referred to as ‘Biafraland,’ or else he would not leave the geopolitical zone alive.

However, the Ebonyi State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Titus Lamorde, who gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki, assured the people that the command was well equipped to deal with all forms of security challenges before, during and after the President’s visit.

According to Lamorde, any individual or group of persons that foment trouble before, during and after the visit would be severely dealt with, as people are advised to conduct themselves well.

“I will not disclose the number of personnel we have drafted for security reasons, but I assure citizens that enough personnel have been deployed across the state to ensure a hitch-free visit.

“The President’s visit is a welcome development as the citizens should cooperate with security agencies to make it a successful one,” he said.

He stated that his officers had been adequately trained to relate well with the citizens during the visit and advised people to conduct their activities within the confines of the law.

“We would not meddle in political issues as a security outfit, but the visit is development-oriented because of the numerous projects the President would inaugurate.

“My officers would not intimidate or harass individuals or groups as the duty of ensuring a hitch-free event is a collective one,” he said.

However, IPOB has vowed that Buhari will not go back alive if he decides to go ahead with his plans to visit the zone.

The President is billed to visit Ebonyi State on Tuesday (today) his first visit to the South-East since he assumed office in 2015.

IPOB said “blood will flow” if the President failed to heed the warning by going ahead with the trip.

The pro-Biafran group, which gave the warning in a statement by its spokesman, Emma Powerful, referred to Buhari as ‘Jubril of Sudan.’

In the statement, entitled, ‘Jubril of Sudan masquerading as Buhari must stay away from Biafraland or else blood will flow,’ IPOB claimed that an alleged impostor, one Jubril from Sudan, was actually the person parading himself  as President Muhammadu Buhari, who it referred to as the “late dictator.”

The secessionists, in the same vein, said Buhari’s visit to the South-East would amount to an insult to the memory of all Biafran activists who died at the hands of federal troops since the President assumed power in 2015.

The group warned that the South-East Governors’ Forum and the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo were provoking violence and bloodshed by allegedly inviting Buhari to the zone.

“This is tantamount to an Israeli politician inviting Adolf Hitler to visit Jerusalem to mock the Jews he slaughtered in concentration camps during the holocaust,” the statement said.

Warning the President to stay away, the statement added, “It is with a heavy heart and grave sense of responsibility that we IPOB worldwide under the supreme command of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, announce to the world that those who are completely committed to provoking bloodshed in our land may have finally succeeded.

“The consequences of any fallout from the visit of the impostor Jubril to Ebonyi State will rest squarely on the head of Chief John Nnia Nwodo (President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo) governors Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Rochas Okorocha (Imo) and the rest of the South-East governors.

“Bringing this version of ‘Buhari’ to insult the memory of those killed at Enugu, Nkpor, Igweocha, Aba, Onitsha and lastly Umuahia will not be tolerated by IPOB and every right thinking Biafran.

“Tuesday, 14th November, 2017 will be recorded in history as a very bloody day should that Jubril masquerading as Buhari attempt to land on Biafran soil.

“We have remained passive and peaceful but it appears that the Hausa/Fulani slave politicians in Igboland are hell-bent on provoking us to become violent.

“Whoever advised Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Igbo governors to embark on this suicide mission does not wish them well.”

IPOB also alleged that Buhari’s planned visit to Anambra State on November 15 was meant to finalise plans by the All Progressives Congress to rig the November 18 governorship election in the state.

Threatening the President with death, the pro-Biafran group said, “Our message is short and simple. Jubril a.k.a. Muhammadu Buhari will be exposed to the world as the impostor he is by making sure he never goes back alive.

“We will die with him should he set his foot on the sacred land of Biafra. He will not go back alive.”

The group further claimed that Buhari ordered soldiers to kill its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabouts is unknown.

“He (Buhari) played a key role in all the theatres of genocidal mass slaughter of the Nigerian/Biafran War (1967-1970). He instructed soldiers to kill Nnamdi Kanu at his Afaraukwu, Abia State residence two months ago. We are yet to know our leader’s whereabouts or that of his parents.

“They (Hausa/Fulani) hate our people with a passion, they love killing us, so his coming is only to celebrate what he sees as the final defeat of our people. He will not go home alive.”

IPOB warned that those who invited Buhari to the South-East would pay dearly.

“All those who plotted this visit will pay dearly. When the time for vengeance comes there will be no forgiveness.

“We are going to perish together with this ‘Buhari’. It’s a promise,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, an election observer group, Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement, on Monday asked security agencies and other stakeholders in the Anambra State governorship election to address the “vote-and-die”  threat issued by IPOB before Saturday’s governorship poll.

The Project Manager of YIAGA, Cynthia Mbamalu, stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, at a press conference to update newsmen about the group’s activities towards the poll.

Describing the threat as serious, the group said it could lead to voters’ apathy if their fears were not allayed.

It said YIAGA’s investigation showed that there was palpable fear among citizens, especially voters, about the threat.

It called on traditional rulers, president-general of town unions, the police, the Independent National Electoral Commission and other stakeholders to address the issue and allay the fears of voters before the poll.

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