Joseph Edegbo , Kaduna
(Nigeria) - The Nigerian Army has mounted security surveillance and clampdown of suspected members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra , IPOB, ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the South-East region.
Reports say this might not be unconnected with the Anambra State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which was thrown into pandemonium, on Monday, following an alleged discovery of a substance suspected to be a bomb.
It was reportedly gathered that three members of IPOB were arrested in Abia State, for sharing leaflets with the inscription ‘No Election In Anambra.
Buhari is expected to be in the South-East on Tuesday for a 2-day working tour of Ebonyi and Anambra States.
The arrested suspects are Chidiebere Nwaona, 35; Nwagbougwu Okeke, 55; and John Nwaogazi, 50. The IPOB members had threatened voters with death, if they cast their votes, adding that they would disrupt the forthcoming Governorship election in Anambra State, holding on November 18.
”In videos of the march that went viral on the social media, they had said: “If you vote, you will die. Do not go out, stay in your house. If you vote on November 18, you will die. There will be no election. We will not participate.”
However, the Army said on Monday, that the three suspected IPOB members were apprehended for allegedly sharing of leaflets and flyers discouraging the residents from the Saturday election. The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, and Spokesman for 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa, confirmed the arrest.
He said: “Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects are aged 35, 55, and 50. The suspects, leaflets and flyers have been handed over to the Abia State Command of the DSS.”
The Army also said a Cleric, Michael Onyeka, the Pastor of Victorious Peoples Assembly, Aba Parish, who was kidnapped last week Friday, had been rescued by troops.
“Following the kidnap of Onyeka, on Friday, a tip-off was received from a good samaritan indicating the possible location where he was held. A patrol team of 144 Battalion of 14 Brigade combed the bushes of Ngboko general area on Sunday, and Onyeka was successfully rescued.
“No arrest was made, as the culprits ran away before the arrival of the troops. Efforts are being made to apprehend the suspects”, the Army assured.