The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Kpirikpiri Police Division, Ebonyi State, John John, on Sunday evening escaped death when members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and security agents clashed, police said.
The clash occurred at Oguzoronweya Primary School in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Police stormed the area where IPOB members were having a meeting. This led to a clash between the security agents and the proscribed group.
The DPO, Mr John, was attacked with stones and other dangerous weapons, police said.
Police arrested an Abakaliki-based lawyer, Orogwu Ndubuisi, and his fiancé, who were said to be with the IPOB members during their meeting in the school.
Five IPOB members were also arrested while many others fled.
Police spokesman in the state, Loveth Odah, said the IPOB members started attacking the security agents immediately they sighted them.
She Mr John was attacked with heavy stones and was saved by his helmet.
“Why are they saying police burst into where they were holding meeting? Are they supposed to hold a meeting in Nigeria when they are declared proscribed? In law, there is what is called an unlawful assembly,” she said.
“Members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) assembled unlawfully and the information got to us, that was on October 27, 2019 at Oguzoronweya Primary School in Ebonyi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State by 2.50 p.m.”
“On receiving the information, men of Operation Puff Adder of our command, in active collaboration of other security agencies, went to the place.
“We thought that IPOB members were just normal people that gathered together to have unlawful meeting even when they know they are not lawful in Nigeria. But yesterday was very different. As soon as police got to the area, to their greatest surprise, Mr. John John, the DPO of Kpirikpiri Division, was seriously attacked.
“If not because he was seriously kitted as a policeman having his helmet on him and his bulletproof, he would have been killed. By now you would have just heard that a Chief Superintendent of Police is dead.
“Their lawyer, who was with the IPOB members, was arrested. I talked with him and I was surprised that he denied being their legal adviser. He said he was taking their briefs. I don’t know the difference between a legal adviser and somebody who takes a brief for an organisation.
“Many of them ran away but we were able to arrest at least six of them; they are in custody. They are fully dressed in IPOB uniform.”
But IPOB in a statement said security agencies opened fire on them injuring 17 of its members.
A statement by the spokesman of the group, Emma Powerful, said 70 others were arrested by the security agencies.
“We the global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) find it distasteful that rather than confront rampaging and murderous Fulani herdsmen, the Nigerian army and police have continued their incessant and unwarranted attacks against the peaceful family of IPOB in Ebonyi State.
“A combined team of Nigeria Armed Forces invaded the venue of a peaceful IPOB gathering in Ebonyi LGA at 5pm on Sunday 27 October 2019 with more than 50 Hilux vans during an inauguration ceremony and opened fire on defenceless mothers and fathers without warning.
“Such mindless and animalistic brutality cannot happen and has never happened in the north where the top four most deadly terror groups are operating freely without restriction.”
He said, “This continued invasion and intimidation of Biafraland must stop. All those responsible for this attack will pay dearly for it, them and their children.”
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