The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Solomon Arase, has sternly warned activists of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) that they threaten public peace at the risk of having to face the full weight of the law.
The warning followed the observation by the Nigeria Police Force leadership of the increasing resort to acts of brigandage by a set of misguided individuals who are hiding under the cloak of MASSOB and IPOB to threaten national security and public peace in parts of South East geopolitical zone and conterminous States, police spokesman Olabisi Kolawole said in a statement.
He said the latest manifestation of the threat was the attempt to blockade the Onitsha end of Niger Bridge yesterday, an action that caused major hardship to innocent and law abiding motorists and citizens, and also seriously dislocated business activity.
“The Inspector-General of Police notes that the increasing resort to acts of brigandage of this nature is pointing to a clear attempt by the brains behind these protests to test the will of security agencies to restore order and guarantee internal cohesion,” the spokesman said. “For the avoidance of doubts, the IGP further notes, the restoration and maintenance of law and public order, and protection of lives and property remain sacred and statutory Mandate of the Nigeria Police. This Mandate, according to him, shall be fully executed in the overriding interests of the nation and vast majority of citizens and residents of the South East geopolitical Zone.”
As a result, he said Mr. Arase had directed the mobilisation and deployment of Police Mobile Force (PMF) across the country to reinforce security in the State Commands that MASSOB and IPOB are currently attempting to utilise as a launching pad for their sinister intentions.
“The Assistant Inspectors–General of Police Zone 5, (Benin); Zone 6, (Calabar) and Zone 9 (Umuahia) as well as all Commissioners of Police in the affected States in the South East and neigbouring States have also been directed to henceforth maximally exercise their statutory Mandate in relation to prevention and disruption of any gathering that threatens public order and national cohesion. Any person or group of persons so arrested in furtherance to the enforcement of this order will be made to face the full wrath of the law.”
He added that the IGP had also advised parents and guardians to call their children and wards to order as the patience of the Force was being stretched to the limit.
“He firmly affirmed that no individual or group interest can override the interest of the nation and that democratic values provide for exploration of rule of law to advance any concern, not the resort to endless and misguided acts of brigandage, unless there is an ulterior motive as the extant instance tends to dictate,” ACP Kolawole said.
Mr. Arase asserted that the Nigeria Police Force will not fold its law enforcement arms to allow few misguided elements to continually force hardships on fellow Nigerians either in the South East or any other part of the nation for that matter.